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The Boomer Bulletin - 2013
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If You Knew the Future, What Would You Do Differently?

Posted By Rebecca Ryan, Monday, July 8, 2013

Rebecca Ryan will be a keynote speaker at the 2013 Boomer Technology Circles Summit and Talent Development Advantage.  Her session is titled "Is Your Firm Future Ready?” View Rebecca’s session description. Rebecca’s brand new book "ReGeneration” will be gifted to every firm in attendance. Register now!

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—to identify the trends coming at them, to give them a true, strategic advantage over their competitors.

Here are two trends that will drive intense change in firms. Is your firm future ready?

1. Demographics

Both the U.S. and Canada are becoming older. And browner. And the workforce is 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?

2. Commoditization

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: wrap the product with great service and a unique customer experience.

How is your firm fighting through commoditization?

If you like these trends, Rebecca has three additional trends she’ll share in her keynote presentation at the 2013 Boomer Technology Circles Summit and Talent Development Advantage on August 19-20, 2013 in Kansas City, MO. Rebecca will also be co-facilitating a Leadership Panel with Sandra Wiley on August 19, 2013. Register now!

About the author: Rebecca Ryan is a futurist, author, and speaker. She is a partner with The Advisory Board: A think tank to the CPA profession.

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