Disruption is Key Issue for Major Firms Council

From the Desk of the Executive Director

By Lauren Clemmer

It was my privilege to be part of AAM’s first Major Firms Council event two weeks ago when 17 growth leaders from the top 30 firms gathered to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities they are facing in the profession.

Mark Koziel, EVP, AICPA Firm Services, kicked off the day with discussion pertaining to the various disruptors that are expected to affect the industry. Notably, he spoke about external disruptors, such as geopolitical instability, tech and cyber issues, regulatory complexity and financial challenges. Additionally, he pointed out that changes in the workforce will require our business models to change as they are noticing a significant drop in recruits.

A View of the Future

Blockchain (think bitcoin and secure documents) is coming. The prediction is that 65 percent of banks will have blockchain by 2020. As a result, robotics will handle 40 percent of basic accounting – in fact; one of the big four firms has reported that it currently only has two human touchpoints. And what about the impact of automation? We are left to ask how this change will impact staffing in the future.

At the end of the day, you can’t just take new services and put them into the old model, your services have to evolve to fit the new model. It is not just accounting that is changing. Business models everywhere are changing, consider Uber, Google and Amazon to name a few. Disruption is literally everywhere. We know that change must occur. But we also know that change is hard. There is no time to waste. According to estimates, firms must embrace change within the next three years to remain relevant.

It’s Not all Gloom and Doom

Deloitte CEO Cathy Englebert, recently stated in an article in Accounting Today, “We are in a time of unprecedented change and innovation.” She goes on to state that there are three factors that are shaping the profession of the future: technology which is changing how we work, demographics and innovation which is changing the future workforce. Furthermore, the needs of investors and shareholders are changing. That being said, Engelbert reminds us that technology has played a role in the profession for the past 30 years. In that time the profession has only grown.

Here’s what we do know … even though jobs will change, they are not going away. According to Englebert, people will still be necessary for empathy, curiosity, creativity, intelligence and more. Client needs are also changing. Moving forward, our clients will look to us to provide more specialized services.

In other words, for those willing to embrace change and deliver, the future looks bright.

What You Can Do

What are you doing to prepare you and your firm for the inevitable change? AAM provides programming to members through events such as “Winning is Everything,” which has a robust agenda for marketers and business developers. Content includes how to build a client experience with Ryan Sudam. Margaret Wise will show us how to leverage marketing technology. And those in attendance will learn how big data can be used to transform one firm’s practice, presented by Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway of BKD. You don’t want to miss this conference. There is still time to register, Winning is Everything is being held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, December 13-15.

Another excellent programming resource available to our members is the annual AAM Summit. This week, the conference committee will meet to put together content for the 2018 conference. We are excited to bring fresh ideas for content and format together to deliver an experience that will not disappoint. Be sure to put this event in your budget! AAM Summit 2018 will take place in Portland, Oregon, May 14-17. While you’re there, why not plan on staying a bit longer to explore the great Northwest.

About Lauren Clemmer

Lauren Clemmer is the Executive Director for the Association for Accounting Marketing. Prior to becoming the director, Lauren was an active member, participating in the Membership Satisfaction committee and then as co-chair of Virtual Education which includes AAM High Webinars and Virtual Campfires. In her role as executive director, Lauren works with the with the board president, the executive committee and the board of directors to drive AAM’s vision and strategic plan. Her responsibilities include the general administration of all AAM business, managing vendor and partner relationships, enhancing member engagement and loyalty, and serving as the voice of membership.

Lauren gives back to her community as a member of the Women’s Board for the Boy and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

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