Today’s post comes from guest contributor, Rebecca Ryan who is the founder of Next Generation Consulting. In this article Rebecca discusses how CPA firms can future-proof their organizations by understanding the trends impacting organizations today, and how to capitalize on them for competitive advantage.
If you knew the future, what would you do differently?
I love this question. Many firms like to think about the future — they do it every year as part of their strategic planning. But too often, strategy sessions result in doing more of what has worked in the past. It’s like trying to drive a car using only your rearview mirrors.
As a futurist, I help firms use the windshield — instead of the rearview mirror — to identify the trends coming at them, to give them a true, strategic advantage over their competitors.
Here are two future workforce trends that will drive intense change in CPA firms. Is your firm future-ready?
Both the U.S. and Canada are becoming older and more diversified. The workforce is also becoming more dominated by women. Currently:
- Over half of all CPA grads are women
- 25% of all CPA grads are nonwhite
- 13% of high potentials are nonwhite (according to AICPA’s Top Talent Survey)
- 5% of partners are nonwhite
Let’s play this forward ten years:
- Over half of your high potentials should be women
- One-fourth of your high potentials should be nonwhite
- One in every six of your new partners should be nonwhite
Is your firm on track to capitalize on these demographic trends?
Since the recession, many firms have been stuck in pricing wars, effectively devaluing audit and tax services to mere commodities. Today, clients shop for these services like they shop for boxes of cereal: a lot of different companies and brands and packaging, but all competing on price.
Commoditization is a race to the bottom. And CPA firms can pull a play from the software playbook, which suffered through commoditization a decade ago. Instead of getting mired in pricing wars, firms should wrap “the product” — aka your people — with great service and a unique customer experience.
To future proof your organization you need to understand how the above two trends impact how you run your firm, and how you develop your people. This may require a fresh perspective and approach to both your strategic and your talent management plans.
Get in on the discussion
If you like these trends and want to learn more on how to future proof your organization, Rebecca has three additional trends she’ll share in her iShade Ask the Expert session taking place April 23, 2013 and sponsored by Halogen. Register for the session for your chance to discuss these trends with Rebecca directly.
Your turn: How is your firm fighting through commoditization?
About Rebecca Ryan
Rebecca Ryan is a futurist, author, and speaker. She is a partner with The Advisory Board: A think tank to the CPA profession, and her firm, Next Generation Consulting, helps public accounting firms engage, develop and retain their high potential talent.
Author of Life First, Work Second, and ReGENERATION, Rebecca is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations think differently about the future…their future. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.