I’m here in D.C. on the eve of the ASAE’s Technology Conference, an annual showcase of the new stuff that’s disrupting our world.

Why am I here? Because I believe CPAs expect their professional associations to be ahead of the technology curve — to lead by example. I’m trying to learn enough to get there.

Now, CPAs, I want you to ask yourselves the same question: Why should you be here? Why should you be exploring things like the cloud, virtualization, digitization, or social business?

Because your clients expect you to be here — to lead by example.

What’s our mission again? To help clients make sense of a changing and complex world. How can we do that if we’re not making sense of it ourselves?

Business strategist and Crossing the Chasm author Geoffrey Moore put it this way at the AICPA’s recent Digital CPA Conference:

“Transformation is an aspiration. Our goal is to transform our clients, so we need to transform ourselves.”

So yes, we should be in the cloud, and we should help our clients move there, too. In fact, says Moore, “we’re past the cloud tipping point. It just works. The risk now is to not move to the cloud.”

And yes, we should be mobile, digital, virtual, social, collaborative. These technological advances aren’t advances anymore. They’re the new normal, the ways in which work gets done.

Do we have to do these things? Absolutely not.

“Change is not required,” said Moore, channeling the spirit of W. Edwards Deming, “because survival is not mandatory.”

As with everything, you have a choice. Choose to survive.

Scratch that. Choose to thrive, and learn, and lead. Then choose to help your clients do the same.

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