While the rest of us are wringing our hands over today's problems, more and more forward-thinking CPAs are working on tomorrow's.
The MACPA's Leadership Academy is doing some pretty awesome work in this area in Maryland, but The Movement (as some are calling this group of new CPA leaders) blows past any single border.
Case in point: I C Opportunities. In the immortal words of ZZ Top, these folks are bad, they're nationwide.
I C Opportunities' mission is simple: Draft a blueprint for how CPAs can stay relevant and add value for clients in an increasingly complex world. The group has held two meetings thus far (the latest just prior to the AICPA's Tech+ Conference and Practitioners Symposium in Las Vegas), and similar themes have surfaced each time: innovation, collaboration, intellectual capital, customer relationships, technology.
These are things, they say, that will drive the profession going forward.
Look at some of the stuff I C Opportunities came up with at their most recent meeting — ideas for what they (and the profession) should accomplish in the next five years:
Notice those themes again? Customers. Innovation. Collaboration. Technology.
Here's the great thing about this group: They understand that what they do — namely, serving their clients — hasn't changed. How they do it, though, has changed radically. They're digital, social, virtual, working anywhere, at anytime, and often with a ROWE mentality — get your work done and live your life.
“If you do what you've always done, you get what you've always gotten,” said one I C Opportunities member — nameless due to the group Chatham House Rule mentality. “This meeting helps break the mold.”
A couple of other ideas from the group's meeting stand out:
Notice how the V word keeps repeating itself? Instead of moaning about the shortcomings of their vendors' products, these CPAs brought their vendors into the room and made them part of the conversation.
The message to vendors is clear: Here's what your products do. To better serve our clients, here's what we need your products to do. Let's figure out how to do that together.
Revolutionary? No. It's just common sense. It's only revolutionary from the standpoint that no one else is doing it.
We'll undoubtedly be writing more about this group as time goes on. It's only the future of the CPA profession, after all.
In the meantime, here's a question for you: Assuming the status quo won't work going forward (because it won't), how do you plan to stay relevant to your clients?