Perspectives on the changing role of the CPA

September 11, 2017By Jess Halverson BowyerArticle, Innovation, The Changing Role of the CPA

Today’s world is increasingly one of change. This is especially true in the CPA profession, where new technologies and strategies are changing the very role of the CPA itself. Because of all this constant change, the need for CPAs to innovate has never been greater. We posed some questions to five CPAs who have been at the forefront of innovation in their careers.

Why Do You Innovate?

Meghan Applegate, CPA, Applegate & Company, CPAs: A better question is why NOT innovate? When you go to a business to purchase services or even a product, you have expectations in your mind of what you should receive. More likely than not, your expectations are very high. As innovators in the industry, we are working hard to exceed our client’s expectations of the services they believe they deserve. Innovation would include not only cost savings, but efficiencies in how we work as well as how they work in their business, meeting their financial and strategic needs, etc. From a client’s perspective, we have been put on this earth to make their life easier. Innovation is key in fulfilling this expectation.

Kent Williams, CPA, Professor, Indiana Wesleyan University: I enjoy it! A proper balance is to keep one foot in the reality of the present and one in the possibilities of the future. As professionals we have an obligation to our clients, employees and in my case to my students to remain innovative.

Stephen Lukinovich, CPA, CVA, PFS, Mountjoy Chilton Medley, LLP: In order to meet a need the market is not filling. Further, it means CPAs are viewed as thought leaders in our field. Developing innovative solutions means spending a significant amount of time building consensus, structure, formalities, and interest. Sometimes it’s trial and error. Failure is ok—although, it’s often hard to isolate why the idea did not fully succeed. Was the failure due to lack of firm participation, inability to fill a need, failure to implement, or inability to market the proposed solution?

How do you create an innovative culture?

Kent: I believe that in order to facilitate an innovative culture, leaders must provide an environment that is free from fear, builds trust, looks to encourage, hires for innovation, celebrates and learns from failure. Start small so that employees can get their “innovative legs.” If innovative experience is good, they will want to do it again. If we want innovation to permeate the culture then we need to hire for that characteristic.

Rick Dennen, CPA, Oak Street Funding LLC: Oak Street Funding is deliberate in our attention to innovation. In addition to working quickly and effectively to meet the needs of our clients, we also meet the needs of our team by giving them the tools necessary to bring ingenuity, creativity and value to the organization. Our focus on the employee experience produces job satisfaction and pride that translates to a consultative, knowledgeable and caring approach with our clients and a distinctive client experience. We continuously ask the questions “Are we doing what is right to meet the needs of our clients as well as our employees?” and “Is there a better approach?” If there is a better way, we implement it. In addition, we are focused on working collaboratively across all departments and business lines, resulting in cross functional buy-in, operational excellence, and, of course, innovation. Finally, we embrace the latest technology and the utilization of data and analytics to help us best serve our current and potential clients.

Where do you think the profession is heading and how can innovation get us there?

Tom Gabbert, CPA, mAccounting, LLC: The CPA profession is at a unique time in history. Technology changes are streamlining accounting processes and removing geographic and service delivery barriers. As a firm, we are spending much less time getting information into the accounting system and far more time working with our clients to analyze their information and helping them make informed business decisions. I believe this will only accelerate in the next few years as new technologies are developed. I also believe that by leveraging new technologies, firms will no longer be subject to geographic limitations in the clients they serve.

Rick: While there will continue to be regulatory and reporting changes in the profession, I believe the areas in which innovation will make the biggest impacts are technology, data, and the utilization of that data. With regard to technology, it is increasingly important to utilize all of the ever-evolving smart and sophisticated technologies—for both effectively managing compliance, risk and communications, as well as connecting with current and potential clients quickly, accurately and in their preferred medium. There will continue to be less emphasis on the traditional, quarterly face-to-face meetings and more on a relationship in which the client can text, email, Skype or call at any time.

What skills do you think will be important for CPAs in the future, particularly as their roles are changing?

Tom: The CPA has always been a trusted advisor, but I believe this role will take on even greater importance in the years to come. The CPA of the future will need excellent analytical, communication and interpersonal skills. They will spend less time getting the numbers right and more time analyzing the results and working with clients to make informed business decisions.

Meghan: Communication and interpersonal skills are not only required now, but will continue to be imperative as the profession changes. No longer are CPAs able to sit behind a desk and crank out a ton of tax returns/financial statements. The clients want to see you, hear from you, and see what they’re getting for the money they’re paying you. They want that additional business/data analysis and consulting to help them in their businesses.

Stephen: Ability to identify problems that exist outside compliance. Then, the ability to develop enthusiasm surrounding innovative ideas—the risk of failure and the energy required to get it off the ground normally stymies pursuing extraordinary offerings.

What We’re Reading – 8/9/2017

August 9, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on teamwork, technology, decision-making, and workplace culture. 

 

A bank robber can teach us a lot about team-building, according to this video featuring Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871.

https://www.inc.com/video/howard-tullman/the-most-important-thing-to-remember-when-youre-building-a-team.html

 

The arrival of Blockchain is inevitable. How, as CPAs, can we be ready to embrace this new innovation?

https://www.strategy-business.com/article/A-Strategists-Guide-to-Blockchain?gko=0d586&utm_source=itw&utm_medium=20170808&utm_campaign=resp

 

Ever wonder how successful people get from one thing to another? Here are 4 strategies successful people use in making important decisions.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40444808/how-successful-people-make-decisions-differently?utm_content=buffer254e7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

CPAs, do your workplace cultures have any of these three common, but misleading, characteristics?

https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/three-things-that-arent-your-firms-culture

 

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 8/2/2017

August 2, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on leadership, technology, and education. 

 

Honesty is proven to boost leadership credibility in even the most dire situations.

How Honest Apologies Can Help Leaders Bounce Back

 

Blockchain is further being touted as revolutionary force in finance. CPAs, how do you believe this technology will impact your businesses?

Building the Future of Finance with Blockchain

 

Villanova seeks to keep its students at the forefront of the accounting profession with its new Master of Accounting with Data Analytics program.

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/villanova-announces-masters-of-accounting-with-data-analytics-program

 

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 7/26/2017

July 26, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on emotional intelligence, cybersecurity, innovation, and leadership. 

 

Afraid that first impression didn’t go well? Increase your likability in your networking efforts with these 5 emotionally intelligent things to do when meeting someone new.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40441365/do-these-5-emotionally-intelligent-things-within-5-minutes-of-meeting-someone_

 

Is your company protected against these threats? It might be time to adapt to the cybersecurity realities of today:

An Insider’s View on Outside Cybersecurity Threats

 

Looking to become better at something in your life? Here is a stellar list of 44 books for self-improvement:

https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/44-favorite-books-of-high-achievers.html?cid=sf01001&sr_share=twitter

 

Stay ahead of the curve with these 8 change management models you can use to adapt and grow your business.

8 Critical Change Management Models to Evolve and Survive

 

Read the story of how two executives, new to their jobs, propelled their company forward through their leadership and teamwork:

https://www.strategy-business.com/article/Finance-and-HR-The-Executive-Partnership-That-Transformed-a-Company?gko=bcdab&utm_source=itw&utm_medium=20170725&utm_campaign=resp

 

 

What We’re Reading – 7/12/2017

July 12, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on networking, management, and innovation. 

 

Learn from a seasoned veteran of the business world on his vision of management: 

https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/the-art-and-philosophy-of-leadership-and-management

 

Do you cringe when you hear the word “networking”? For many people, networking can be intimidating and stressful. Here are six ways you can network if you don’t like talking to strangers: 

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-network-if-you-dont-like-talking-to-strangers/

 

Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, shares the challenges and opportunities he’s been faced with, as well as career advice for entrepreneurs. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2017/05/23/drew-houston-why-the-most-successful-entrepreneurs-solve-big-problems/#66bcdadb7acd

 

Those who came before us often can lead us the way forward. Here are some lessons from history’s greatest innovators: 

https://medium.freecodecamp.org/lessons-from-historys-great-innovators-that-you-should-never-forget-4d5e432adcde

 

What We’re Reading – 6/28/2017

June 28, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on retention, management, and development.

 

Why are some of your best employees packing their bags and leaving? These warning signs might just help you keep your most valued workers.

http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2017-05-17-Are-Employers-Missing-Retention-Red-Flags

 

Giving an employee critical feedback is never fun. It’s part of the job, but doesn’t have to be negative. Learn how to constructively give feedback to your low-performing employees with these 4 tips:

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/heres-how-good-managers-give-bad-employees-feedback.html

 

An increase in training programs and employee development is imminent, according to the American Insitute of CPAs. Indiana CPAs and beyond, what are you doing to develop your own employees?

http://www.cgma.org/magazine/2017/may/employee-development-and-training-201716652.html

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

What We’re Reading – 6/21/2017

June 21, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on job recruitment, technology, engagement, and innovation. 

 

Technology is constantly evolving the accounting industry. Here is a list of trends for firm leaders to keep an eye on. CPAs, how will these trends affect you and your organizations? 

http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2017/jun/technology-trends-for-accounting-firm-leaders-201716749.html

 

Do you feel appreciated and respected at work? If you have your doubts, here are three signs to look for in your company to see if they truly value you as an employee. 

http://fortune.com/2015/10/22/signs-company-values-employees/?xid=soc_socialflow_facebook_FORTUNE

 

 Read on to discover why John Graham, professor at Duke Universy’s Fuqua School, shares and addresses this issue. This primary issue faced by CFOs and companies might surprise you. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cfos-are-feeling-1497838320

 

Innovation doesn’t always mean discovering or creating the “next big thing.” Instead, it is sometimes the smaller, lesser discoveries that really lead to a company’s success. As CPAs, how can we recognize this type of innovation? 

https://www.strategy-business.com/blog/Bad-Innovation-Is-Just-What-Your-Company-Needs?gko=cc371&utm_source=itw&utm_medium=20170620&utm_campaign=resp

 

According to this article from Deloitt University Press, the workforce of tomorrow needs two primary things: engagement and passion. Read on to learn more about why these traits are important and how you focus on fostering them in your own organizations today.   

https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/topics/talent/future-workforce-engagement-in-the-workplace.html?id=us:2em:3na:dup2725:awa:dup:061317&sfid=0031400002Y8aGdAAJ

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

 

What We’re Reading – 6/14/2017

June 14, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on change, employee management, and continuing professional education. 

 

Change is a constant in today’s accounting industry. CPAs, how will these four trends driving change in the industry affect you?

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/the-four-trends-driving-accounting-today?brief=00000158-6edb-da3c-af5a-ffff76ed0000

 

Learn in this interview from FEI Daily how finance executives are handling the banking revolution in speed and satisfaction of customer expectations. 

The Three Things Financial Execs Can Learn from the Banking Revolution: A Q&A With Grant Thornton’s Simon Moss, Part 1

 

Why are your employees giving you their two-week notice and leaving? This article from CGMA Magazine explains why, and offers five tips you can do to reduce employee turnover in your company. 

http://www.cgma.org/magazine/2017/jun/how-to-reduce-employee-turnover.html?linkId=38609579

 

Similar to the CPA Center of Excellence’s support of competency-based professional development for CPAs, The International Accounting Education Standards Board has proposed a revision that moves away from traditional credit-hours based learning. Learn more here: 

https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/proposed-international-standard-focuses-on-learning-outcomes-for-accountants

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 6/7/2017

June 7, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on leadership and productivity. 

 

CPAs, how have you managed conflict within your company? Learn how three CEO’s displayed incredible leadership to their employees in the midst of conflict:

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/these-3-emails-from-the-ceos-of-starbucks-microsoft-and-amazon-teach-extraordi.html?cid=sf01001&sr_share=twitter

 

“Silences creates accountability for a response.” Sometimes, the best way to let voices be heard is to silence your own:

https://www.inc.com/lee-colan/how-silence-speaks-louder-than-words.html?cid=sf01001&sr_share=twitter

 

Everyone knows the drag of long, fruitless meetings. Read on to learn the secrets to running more productive meetings. As CPAs, how have you incorporated these methods into your own meetings?

https://www.fastcompany.com/40423133/seven-ceos-secrets-for-running-more-productive-meetings?utm_content=buffer8f82b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.

What We’re Reading – 5/31/2017

May 31, 2017By Elise MayArticle, Blog

This week’s recommended reading on leadership, entrepreneurship, and technology. 

The 2016 Capital Trends study has identified five things your company can do right now to foster new leadership. As CPAs, how can you implement these tactics to nurture your workplace’s future leaders? 

http://deloitte.wsj.com/cmo/2017/05/25/5-ways-to-nurture-developing-leaders

According to the Harvard Business School, there are several reasons why having an openness to new experiences gives you a more entrepreneurial spirit than your peers.

https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/harvard-research-says-this-1-thing-distinguishes-entrepreneurial-leaders-from-co.html

New developments in informatics applications are poised to forever change the way risk management is done. Read on to learn how “R.I.S.K.” is making this change and how it might affect YOUR company.

https://medium.com/@TGRCBB/meet-r-i-s-k-why-your-next-chief-risk-officer-will-be-a-smart-robot-5b91e5f840b1

At the CPA Center of Excellence®, we help CPAs and service professionals stay ahead of change and innovation. Look for our recommended reads on topics like critical thinking and non-technical skills, the future of work, innovation, talent management, leadership, and the changing role of the CPA each Wednesday.