The four essentials of a future-ready CPA firm

What are the essential ingredients of successful CPA firms today? What made us successful in the past is quickly shifting as we face the largest shift change (see The Shift Change in Accounting) in the history of work as baby boomers retire and millennials fast become the dominant generation in the workplace.

The hard trends of technology and demographics are creating big waves of change that continue to challenge CPA firms; that’s according to CXOs and firm management professionals at the CPAFMA Conference in Baltimore earlier this month. They identified these top five challenges:

  1. Finding the right people
  2. Talent retention
  3. Being reactive versus proactive
  4. Engaging our people
  5. Partner alignment and buy-in

These are all PEOPLE issues. When asked what they needed to reinvent, conference attendees said their culture, people development, and training, and in some cases even their partner group (thus No. 5 above).

The talent issues have been steadily rising in importance over the past year and will get much worse in the coming five years. Engagement of people is also rising among the top issues and adding to the complexity of the people problem.

The four essentials of a magnetic firm (see framework on slide 45 below) are:

  1. A purpose-driven workplace
  2. Great leadership (trusted and transparent)
  3. Culture of growth and development of people
  4. Inspiring work — collaborative and inclusive

Future Ready CPA firm – keynote CPA FMA from Tom Hood, CPA,CITP,CGMA

So what are firms to do in an era where “what got you here won’t get you there?”

Our research shows there are three ways to quickly get a handle on the people issues:

  1. Engage your people in your purpose and value as an organization and work to “discover” it if you don’t have it articulated.
  2. Create a learning strategy that is aligned with your vision, purpose, values, and strategy. A career development path and program (the 4 Cs — competencies, career path, curriculum, and cloud learning) that is communicated to your people.
  3. Add flexible work options for your people.

These three things can increase engagement, alignment, and most importantly the growth of your people.

Here is the Reinvent Your Firm presentation from the CPA FMA Conference.

Need help?
Our BLI team can help with strategic planning, partner and total firm alignment and buy-in, curriculum design and learning strategy. Contact Terri Haw terri@blionline.org for more information.


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