Summer nights. The smell of freshly cut grass. The crack of the bat hitting the ball. A cold beer and a hot dog. The seventh inning stretch and of course that song. Cheering for favorite players. Kids in the stands with their baseball gloves, hoping for a chance to catch a foul tip. We’re Triple A here in Indianapolis, so the experience has a very home-town feel.
Things are different at the ballpark, however, for my first post-COVID-19 game. There is now 40-foot-high netting separating the field from the stands, protecting us from being able to catch those fly balls, and putting an end to those cherished moments when the base coach would toss a ball into the stands and into the glove of a fan. [Note, the outfield is still fair game for home runs, along with providing the ability for fans to throw the ball back on the field when the homer is hit by the opposing team.]
“The new netting system will provide fans peace of mind when sitting close to the action down the first and third baselines,” according to the Indianapolis Indians’ president and general manager. I’m sure there’s a plus side to not having to worry about being conked on the head by a runaway foul tip when you’re not paying attention to the game, but what about those hopeful children cradling their gloves, hoping for a chance at a catch and a memory? What about their peace of mind?
Other things have changed too. The beer and hot dogs are no longer delivered in the stands (nor are any other concessions), although this happened before COVID-19. You have to miss half an inning while you wait in line at the concession counters (where oddly they are televising a baseball game, but not the one you came to see).
I understand change, improvement, trends, insurance issues, health, and safety – all of this goes into decisions to move in whatever direction the rule-makers determine is for the greater good. But at the same time, I’m going to miss the sweet ballgames that were unencumbered with nets and where I didn’t have to leave my seat to get food.
All of that leads me to the point of this month’s message. We are honoring change here at CPA Practice Advisor this month with our annual Innovation Awards. We recognize new technology designed to make our jobs easier, speed things along, improve visibility with clients, stay on top of regulations, and yes, protect ourselves from unexpected fly balls in the form of security breaches and phishing attacks.
I’d like to take just a moment, however, to consider that our clients might still appreciate the traditional touches that we include in our relationships. While we are switching to an online/filesharing/chatbot relationship with clients, the occasional phone call or in-person meeting also goes a long way toward cementing our relationships for the long term. Sharing a few minutes with them to ask how they’re doing, just as we do with friends and family, is like tossing the baseball into the stands. All of the protection we install ensures data security and moves things along more quickly, but don’t forget that your clients might still like to have you toss that ball, spend a moment in the sunshine with them, as you cheer them on.
See inside August 2022
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