Jeremy Gooding, CPA,
ISCPA Board of Directors
President/CEO - Stevens Pierce & Associates
We must be willing to embrace change to remain relevant
Early in my career in public accounting, one of my supervisors said that change is constant. I still feel relatively young in spite of my almost 20 years experience and I feel like I have had a change-friendly attitude. Now that I just wrote that, it is amazing how things have changed since I was a college graduate.
Back when I was a part of a bigger accounting firm, and working with training other professionals, I found that once a professional reaches a certain point in their career, they are likely to become unwilling to change. This could be due to the old accounting attitude of “we have always done it that way”, professional ego, the appeal of retirement, or just plain stubbornness. I want to believe that will not be me, because change has been such an easy thing for me to embrace. It’s hard for me to think of a time in my life where I won’t want to embrace a change for the better. However, my experience is that folks do get to a point where they may be stuck and unwilling to change.
It has become clear that we are in a race to remain relevant. When big corporate giants that were radically influential in shaping our economy in the past fail because of changing consumer tastes it becomes pretty clear that you need to evolve or risk failure. After all, who’d have thought 20 years ago that we’d be renting movies on demand or from vending machines? Vending machines! How about the speed of information and the ease of access to anything? I recall doing research papers using encyclopedias or even CD-ROMs to gather information. Now you can Google videos on your smartphone for light-duty home repairs, recipes, that song you just heard, movie quotes, or jokes to entertain guests. It’s incredible!
As professionals, we must be willing to embrace new tools, investigate new production efficiencies, and perhaps consider that our role in providing service may look different in the future. Here’s just a few examples of changes facing our profession today: using blockchain as an auditing tool, allowing new pathways to the CPA, and consolidating the peer review process. Yes, even in 2018, change is constant. We are at risk of having to reinvent ourselves, or find things that only we can incorporate to add value. I would encourage you to think about what you might have to do to stay relevant: are you willing to embrace change and be a force for continuous improvement? Or will you be stuck? The choice is yours.