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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
I’ve realized for a long time that the complexity of everything is increasing. About the time you get your brain wrapped around that idea, consider that the rate of change will accelerate. Especially in accounting.
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.