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Change

Image by m-c via Flickr

The second part of our Accountancy Revolution definition found on the first post was summarized this way:

“…allowing the former manual manipulation of raw accounting data to disappear…”

The “rapid technological means of data creation and production” found in the first post, is what came before this manual manipulation distinction.  Technological changes are allowing all of this to happen.  To boil it down, without the rapid technological changes that we see, we don’t have the makings of a profession reinventing itself.  And if there is no reinvention, then we don’t get the benefit of allowing a manual profession to change into a more beautiful thing (for the profession and the client).

It’s like wishing the Industrial Revolution never happened.

This is part of the fear for those who are not embracing the change: the disintegration of our former way of providing our accounting services is going away so that we no longer need our clients to bring us their check stubs and bank statements.  Really, we don’t need anything from them.  The manual manipulation of raw accounting data is disappearing because technology is doing that work for us.

But that sounds like we might be losing our job.  Our jobs are only changing, not going away.  We don’t do the same jobs we did back before the Industrial Revolution.  And we don’t do the same jobs we did when we conquered America.  Let’s not hold onto the past.

I dream of digital where retail environments talk to your accounting system and enter your transactions for you… where suppliers are updated on your inventory quantity constantly and automatically make shipments to you just in time… where your bank feeds become so intuitive at making accounting entries that accountants stop checking them every month.

Possible?  It’s happening right now.  Our firm is targeting the elimination of every manual paper-based system that clients will allow us to destroy, knowing that the manual manipulation of raw accounting data is going to be a thing of the past very soon.

Manual accounting is on it’s way out the door and performing deep dives into our client’s businesses, processes and their futures will replace it.  Doesn’t that sound better for everyone?  Leave it in the comments.

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  • On 07-03-2011 at 11:38 pm, Richard Phillips said:

    Great insights again Jason. I understand there are accountant business models to protect by those who aren’t seeing as clearly into this. In our own industry we’ve seen many incumbent software providers struggle to keep up with the pace of change in the online world, so it makes sense that accountants who have built their practice around time billing and data aggregation feel threatened as well. The fundamental question we all need to ask is where’s the value for the customer? Because ultimately that will determine where the money flows. Historically this has been in protecting the client from the tax man and making sure the business remains compliant. That’s still important but now technology is streamlining this part and freeing up some of those precious billable hours to focus on higher value work…that just happens to be way more exciting.

    Quick show of hands – how many accountants went to university with dreams of completing the perfect tax return?

    A Profit Maximization meeting sounds better to me (and probably to the client as well)…

    Reply
  • On 07-06-2011 at 10:12 am, Jonathan Godwin said:

    I agree with these comments. Profit Maximization conversations are just what some of my clients are asking me for now. It’s a different mind-set from the old days of preparing financials and hoping they read them. While I think that it’s important for a client to understand what those statements tell them, it can’t stop there. How do we use those numbers to help the client in more ways than forecasting the tax liability? I have had to retrain myself to think more along those lines. The old rules don’t apply anymore. And let me tell you, as someone who’s been in public practice now for 17 years, it ins’t easy!

    Reply
  • Jason Blumer

    On 07-06-2011 at 9:31 pm, thriveal said:

    I agree with these comments too. I’ve tried to remind myself to start asking clients, “if you could dream and have anything you want, what would you want in our relationship? What do you really want a CPA to do for you?” Though I’ve felt stupid asking this the first few times, the answers have always blown my mind. And they have never said “I want you to prepare the best, most pristine looking tax return ever!” Not once.

    One client asked me to do something recently that had nothing to do with accounting or taxes or anything like that. We’re going to do it and we’re going to get paid handsomely to do it too. And we don’t have to obey any regulations, fill out any stupid checklists or bind any reports that the client will never look at.

    It’s fun being in this profession now… we can change lives. But the accountants have to take the first steps towards innovation, not the clients.

    Reply
  • On 09-09-2011 at 8:53 pm, Andrew Jones said:

    I struggle with the idea of the accountants having to take the first step; with that being said I realize someone had to invent coke, someone had to invent pepsi, Ray Kroc had to see the future of Mickey D’s.

    The change that is happening is great for me though because I suck at the manual manipulation aspect of accounting and want to dive straight into the analysis and processes of my clients.

    All very good stuff.

    Reply
  • On 09-10-2011 at 12:20 pm, Jason M Blumer, CPA.CITP said:

    Thanks Andrew for the comments. We’re glad you are in THRIVEal! We’ll push you to become one of the change-agents and innovators our profession needs so badly!

    Get ready to grow, dude!!

    Reply

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