I recently attended the New York Accounting Show put on by Flagg Management, generally acknowledged as the annual kickoff event for nationally recognized accounting conferences that provide continuing professional education and networking opportunities for members of our profession.
I attend many of these conferences during the year, often as a speaker, moderator, or panel member, in addition to helping to staff the CPA Practice Advisor booth on the exhibit hall floor. In my various roles at these events, I cross paths with many accountants and frequently ask what keeps them up at night. I also sit in on many of the education sessions and listen to the questions and concerns voiced by other attendees.
There is a theme, a direction, a current that flows through every conference, every session, every weary pair of eyes that look around the lecture room and the exhibit hall, seemingly asking without saying out loud, “Am I the only one here who doesn’t know where to start?”
We are in the middle of a flood of solutions to our problems, tools to make our lives easier and better. In fact, we’re almost drowning in this tidal wave of technology. But don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad thing. And it’s not even too much of a good thing. It’s just kind of overwhelming.
Tell me one thing you’d like to change about your accounting practice, or your life – and more and more we’re lumping all of that together because we no longer discuss work/life balance (that’s so early 2000s) – today it’s work/life blend, or just life that happens to have work in it – the borders are down and thanks to easy communication and transparency in social media (you do tweet and text, don’t you?), we really don’t know where work stops and everything else begins, because actually it doesn’t.
Name that one thing and I’ll give ten options for how to make the change. Or twenty. Or wait a few weeks and there will be more. Or hire a programmer and make your own perfect solution because that can be done too. Walk through the exhibit hall at a conference and listen to glowing descriptions and testimonials for products and services that will add time to your day, customers to your client base, money to your bank account. You name the problem, and boy do we have solutions. Pick one, pick a few, try them for free.
And you want the solutions. You want them so badly. You want to be that accountant working from the beach on a tiny computer that runs your business for you. You can smell the sea air from here. It’s the getting from Point A to Point B that is the challenge. And so I challenge you to answer the question for yourself, “Where do I start?” Only you can pick the starting point that works for you. Lay out the path to that goal you are seeking, break it down into baby steps, and use the tools that are right within your reach to identify and remove one obstacle at a time.
See inside May 2015
Is Your Firm Using Electronic Signatures?
So you think you’re a progressive firm, right? You’re committed to going digital and eliminating, or at least minimizing, paper. Your engagement letters are all electronic and are emailed to clients and prospects for signature.