coping with change

Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: accounting and auditing

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

To get ready for a writing project this summer, I’ve been going over my notes from some CPE conferences and classes.

Thought I’d share some of the fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs.


The auditor’s report will be completely reworked with implementation first required for 12/31/20 reports. The statement has been issued. Check out SAS-134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements if  you want to get a head start on the overhaul to audit rules.

By the way, an omnibus standard, SAS 135, makes lots of little changes you need to know about.

An exposure draft is out which addresses audit evidence. Final document expected in late 2019.


Another overview of blockchain technology; time to start figuring out this stuff.

Buzzword Bingo: Blockchain” by planeta is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Sure does look like this blockchain technology is going to be a big deal. Might be time to start getting our minds wrapped around the concept.

For starters, check out this short overview:




For a bit more detail:

8/4/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Block chain might remake accounting. The opportunities are huge. – Introductory article is one of the better overviews I have read. It introduces the video shown above.

One sentence description of Block chain, quoting from the article:

Suggestion for coping with massive change that could replace your job: Take full responsibility for developing new skills for yourself.

Embrace Change” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The rate of change we are seeing around us is massive. There are threats of automation or artificial intelligence even eating into what is called the white-collar world.

Here’s a suggestion on how you might cope with this overwhelming change:  Take on full responsibility for keeping your skills and abilities current.

8/1/17 – Stephanie Kasriel at Medium – Skill, re-skill, and re-skill again. How to keep up with the future of work. – The rate of change is accelerating and the skills needed to do work in the new economy are changing as well.

Article provides a brief summary of our education system. I will expand that with what I have learned elsewhere. Then I’ll mention a plan to dealing with this turmoil.

Accountants coping with change. PTIN fees tossed out. New audit report from PCAOB.

Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club

A few interesting reads for accountants.

  • If we keep learning, robots will free us up from dreary work but won’t take away our jobs
  • Federal court keeps PTIN requirement in place but overturns the fee requirement
  • PCAOB expands standard auditor’s report

5/30/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Robots aren’t stealing our jobs. They’re setting us free. – Mr. Sheridan describes how we as accountants could thrive as computers take away the basic number crunching parts of our work.

Those tasks we do that can be automated will shift. That will leave the strategic thinking, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and anticipation to us.

In my little brain, I have a way to describe this – So let’s say you have a program that can review 100% of disbursements instead of you drawing a sample of 40 or 60 items. Cool.

In any client that still uses humans to run their organizations, how many exceptions do you know think you will need to address?

Staying ahead of change in the CPA profession

We need to be ready for what’s around the curve. We will be there really soon whether we want to or not. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In the short-term, looks like a shortage is emerging for experience accountants. In the longer term, the massive change surrounding us means we need to keep learning and adapting.

As CPAs, we need to keep learning new skills and focus on things computers can’t do.


1/30/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute of MACPA – Want to beat the machines? Learn to do what they can’t do – Here is a way to think about automation that you might be able to wrap your brain around – How will you adapt then 30% of the work you do is automated, done faster, quicker, cheaper, and more accurately than you can do? Not 99% of what you do, not 10%, but 30%?

I can’t get my arms around audit or tax or consulting completely going away. I just can’t picture that. However, I can imagine 30% or 40% of my work as an auditor becoming completely automated. Actually, I sort of like that idea.

Computers don’t do well at applying professional judgment, courage, empathy, flexibility, and reacting to body language.

Point of article is learn to do those things better.

1/31/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute of MACPA – Change is a choice. So are relevance … and your future – Each of us has a choice. We can keep doing what we are doing. Or we can decide to change and grow and learn new things.

Look at music and newspapers as hint of what could happen in accounting. Then consider how ripe Hollywood is for the same disruption. In your accounting job what are you doing to get ready?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The music and newspaper industries have revenue trends that look vaguely comparable to the graph above. The IT revolution caused that severe disruption.

Hollywood is facing the same disruption.

Here is the question for accountants:

  • What are you going to do before that type of disrupting change overruns your firm and your career?

I’ll be quite upfront with my challenge: I can see the impact of massive change in other industries, but I am not quite able to see what disruption would look like in my world. I’m struggling with how to get ready. Maybe you are too.

The overwhelming change you feel today is going to increase. Engage the change.

Image courtesy of before they closed their doors.
Image courtesy of before they closed their doors.

The massive volumes of change you see surrounding you everywhere you look isn’t going to stop. In fact the pace of change is going to increase.

Each of us have a choice. Either figure out how to cope with and embrace the change or ignore it.

The cost of ignoring massive change is that you and your organization will get left behind. That doesn’t just mean you will be a laggard as you continue doing next month what you did last year. Instead that means your organization will radically shrink and before you know it, will disappear.

The downsides are serious. There is an upside and it is exciting.

Four articles I’ve seen lately focus the mind. While these articles are written in either the accounting or church context, they also fully apply in the church and accounting context. They also apply to every individual and organization.

This article will be posted across all my blogs because it applies to all of them.

7/7 – Bill Sheridan at LinkedIn – Embrace change or resist it: Only one option is viable.

The odds are really high that tax preparation will be completely automated in the next two decades. Estimated odds are almost as high that both accounting and auditing will be fully automated.

Consider my business and my core tasks of auditing charities. There is a real possibility those types of audits could be heavily automated in 10 or 15 or 20 years. I am not old enough to bank on retiring before that massive change starts eating away the entire audit profession.

Automation will take over an increasing number of tasks. The world of tax, accounting, and audit will be affected. Mr. Sheridan explains the shelf life of education and experience we have is shrinking.

As the Maryland Association of CPAs routinely points out our learning needs to be greater than the rate of change; L>C is their formula.

The change from Apps is just getting started. (Radical change #3)

Another part of my effort to explain that while I see radical change on the horizon in other areas, I have a blind spot how those things will affect auditing.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

1/19 – Mark Mills at Forbes – The Mobile Revolution Has Only Just Begun – Look again at the radical change in the last century:

Not only have radios become cheap but they’ve collapsed in size while rising in capability. A trailer-pulled radio that weighed one ton in WWI is now a chipset weighing a fraction of an ounce buried inside a smartphone that can handle one million-fold more traffic than those first Marconis.

Combine that with a computer the size of a phone and you have a smart phone.

I get the concept of radical changes in our near future. I am blind to see how it will affect my firm. (Radical change #1)

We are in the midst of radical change. I’m writing this blog (Outrun Change) to sort out the change around us. (cross-posted from Outrun Change, obviously.)

I get it in terms of tech change obliterating newspaper want ads, count of first class mail pieces for the Post Office, and devastation to bookstores (remember Borders?).

I totally get the concept that you can be your own book publisher with a cost of under $200 per title if you have the skill to use Adobe Acrobat along with Microsoft Excel and Word. Major publishers are dinosaurs.

Run your own digital publishing company? Been there. Done that. Three times. And publishing the Nook version is literally one extra click, one click, in the on-line production cycle.

More good stuff for auditors – 9/1

A few links and comments of interest to auditors. The Andersen name is back, how to classify ‘trapped cash’, government assigning audits, and The F Student (twice). Wow, am I confused. The Andersen name resurfaces, and vinyl record sales are surging. What’s next, disco?

August 2014 – The CPA Journal – Meet the Future of the Profession – Rumbi Bwerinofa-Petrozzello is one of the bloggers I follow. She writes on fraud at Figuring Financial Forensics.

She and three other young professionals were featured in the linked article in the NY state society. The four discussed their perspectives. Well worth a read.

In particular, I enjoyed the following comment from Ms. Bwerinofa:

Growing complexity will increase. That will make auditing even more challenging.

The overall rate of change today is increasing. This carries over to the business world. Commerce is getting more complex with every quarter that passes.

That will carry over to us as practitioners.

That’s the comment from a speaker at a recent conference.

Free E-book to help you cope with the massive change around us. Oh, did I mention the price?

If you are trying to sort out all the massive change around us, you have just got to check out Look, Lead, Love, Learn: Four Steps to Better Business, a Better Life – and Conquering Complexity in the Process by Bill Sheridan.

On 10-29 and 10-30 it is free at Amazon.

How can we possible cope with all the massive change around us? One way is to open our brain to learn and be willing to constantly be learning more.

In an era of great change, the most important skill we will possess going forward is the ability to learn new skills.

E-book to help CPAs cope with massive change available today free

Just got my copy of Look, Lead, Love, Learn: Four Steps to Better Business, a Better Life – and Conquering Complexity in the Process written by Bill Sheridan of the Maryland Association of CPAs.

Mentioned this book last night at this post.

Today only the price is $0.00. A bargain at $5. Even better at today’s price.

I’ve read the first 20 screens or so. Great stuff.

Starts with a pertinent quote –

You better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone.

– Bob Dylan

If you want a short read to help you cope with the massive change going on around us, check out the book. Grab it today so you can read it this weekend.

Word picture (with video) on coping with radical change

I have a post at my other blog, Outrun Change, that describes how a Chicago museum got an 880 ton submarine into an exhibit by putting the sub in a hole in the ground and then building the museum around it. This is a word picture of changing ourselves to adapt to the change around us.

Building a museum after the exhibit is in place as illustration of adapting to change.

Bill Sheridan of the Maryland Association of CPAs makes this a good illustration for us CPAs on how to adapt to radical change.  See post above for more explanation.