Is technology impacting your accounting firm and your clients much faster than it did 10 years ago? Well it is, and Moore’s Law explains why. In 1965, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, noticed the number of circuits that could be placed on a chip doubled every year. In 1975, he revised that forecast to doubling every 18 – 24 months. When the number doubled, the speed at which the chip ran also doubled and the power the chip consumed declined.
When software developers write code today, they’re writing it to run on chips that will be produced two to three years from now rather than the equipment that exists today. So if the technology you are using is three years old, it is really five to seven years behind the curve. It’s no surprise then that some professionals feel intimidated by new technologies or fear they can’t keep pace with change.
The headlines often make matters worse: robo-accountants will put us out of jobs, blockchain will do away with audits. While accounting firms will certainly be impacted by new technology and it will change the way we work, there are steps we can take to prepare. The alternative is ignoring it, falling behind and becoming irrelevant.
You can keep up and it might not be as scary as many are making it sound. Here’s a look at what you can do now.
As the rate of technological change continues to grow exponentially, it can be uncomfortable or even frightening for people who do not like change. But it can be an incredible opportunity for those who embrace it. Avoid panicking and take a calm, rational approach.
You don’t need to become an expert on predictive analytics, machine learning, AI, and other technologies, but you should gather information and form your own opinions.
We know that accounting firms will be disrupted by technology, but the profession isn’t going away. It will just be different than it is today. Building alignment and getting everyone in the firm moving in the same direction is critical. If people are confused about the firm’s vision and leadership, they won’t buy into changes that need to be made. An outside facilitator can help with strategic planning, envisioning or business transformation and add some much-needed perspective.
Let your team know that you understand the changes that are coming and have a plan to meet them head-on. Many of the people you work with are just as intimidated by emerging technologies as you are. If you don’t take the time to reassure them you have a plan, they will look for a firm that does.
Keeping up with the pace of change requires commitment, courage, capability and confidence. Most of us would prefer to start with confidence, but it only comes after having the courage to make a change, making a commitment and developing the capability. Remember, this is not a do-it-yourself project, and you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Seek out peer communities and solution providers who can help you along the way.
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