Imagine for a moment that your accounting firm is on board a luxury passenger bus headed to an important retreat. A fierce thunderstorm has popped up, and circular winds are starting to form a powerful tornado nearby. You are five miles from the nearest exit, and the twister is gaining on you at frightening speed. The full force hasn’t hit yet, but the winds are picking up and you can see debris and tree limbs beginning to fly by. As driver of the bus, you are responsible for navigating your team through the storm. You can’t outrun it. You can’t avoid it.
What do you do next?
That’s the challenge faced today by accounting firms of all types and sizes. A supercell of technology-fueled disruption is headed our way, and we must figure out how to plot safe passage through what promises to be rapid and radical transformation.
This gathering storm has inspired me over the past three years to seek advice from some of the top leaders in our profession and, in the process, develop a routine of considering key questions regarding the future I’m charged with leading.
For at least an hour a week, I stop to consider what I have found to be the most important questions regarding our firm’s future:
- Are we really moving fast enough?
- What would have to be true for us to change our direction, mind, or assumptions?
- What legacy KPIs are we measuring that slow us down?
- Does our pricing reflect the impact or worth of our services and advice?
- Will our present business model survive exponential change by new competitors?
Over the coming weeks, we’ll explore each question and explain why they are so important to consider as you plot your firm’s course forward. I hope that you also find some value in them as you reflect on your business today. I also encourage you to comment with other guiding and probing questions that we can use to provide a better future for our firms and team members. Together, we can meet the challenges of exponential change and seize the abundant opportunities on our horizon.