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Leading Organization Change: 10 Steps to Become a Change Agent

Navigating through change is critical for accounting firms aiming to stay ahead in a rapidly evolving profession. The drive for transformation can stem from various needs, from integrating the latest technology to keeping up with new regulatory demands or elevating client service levels. 

Yet organizational change can be difficult for your team members. Most people prefer predictability and stability in their lives—especially at work.  

Learning how to lead change effectively can help ensure your transformation journey isn’t just successful and paves the way for sustained growth and innovation. 

Here are ten steps to help you become a change agent in your firm. 

Step 1: Address why the change must happen 

The first step in leading organizational change is understanding and articulating why change is necessary. For accounting firms, this could range from adopting new tax or audit software to improving processes to enhance the client experience.  

The rationale for change must be clear, compelling and tied to the firm's strategic objectives. 

Step 2: Create a vision 

A vision for change provides direction and inspiration. It articulates what the future looks like and why it's preferable to the status quo. 

Your vision should be ambitious yet achievable, providing a clear picture of the desired outcome and how it benefits the firm, your employees and your clients. 

Step 3: Build a team and a clear champion 

Change doesn’t happen in isolation. It’s crucial to build a dedicated team with a clear champion to lead the change efforts. 

Your team should include individuals from various levels and departments within the firm, ensuring a mix of perspectives and expertise. The champion must be a respected leader who can motivate, guide and provide accountability. 

Step 4: Communicate, communicate, communicate 

Effective communication is the backbone of any change initiative. It's essential to communicate the vision, the reasons behind the change, the expected benefits and the impact on all stakeholders. 

Communication should be ongoing, transparent and utilize multiple channels to reach everyone in the organization in the way they prefer to receive information. 

Step 5: Lead by example 

Leadership sets the tone at the top. When partners and other executives don’t participate in organizational change, team members won’t buy into the change. 

Demonstrating commitment to change, adapting to new ways of working and showing resilience in the face of challenges inspires others to follow suit. 

Step 6: Foster a culture of collaboration 

Change is more readily accepted and effectively implemented in a culture that values collaboration. Encourage open dialogue, share ideas and allow employees to contribute to the change process. 

This approach improves buy-in and can lead to innovative solutions and smoother implementation. 

Step 7: Address doubters 

Resistance to change is natural. Identify those who are skeptical and engage them directly. Understand their concerns, provide additional information and involve them in the process. 

Sometimes, the most vocal detractors can become strong advocates once you thoroughly address their concerns. 

Step 8: Provide training and support 

Introducing new processes or technologies requires adequate training and support. Ensure that employees have the resources and knowledge they need to succeed. This might include training sessions, manuals and access to ongoing support.  

Breaking down the change into manageable steps can prevent employees from feeling overwhelmed by change and help them build confidence. 

Step 9: Monitor progress 

Monitoring progress is essential to ensure the change is on track. Use metrics and milestones to assess how the change unfolds, what's working and what needs adjustment. 

Challenges and setbacks are inevitable in any change process, so adapting and being flexible is crucial. Be prepared to adjust plans as new information becomes available or circumstances change. 

When setbacks occur, own them, learn from them and adjust your strategy accordingly. This openness maintains trust and demonstrates a commitment to the vision.  

Step 10: Celebrate success 

Recognizing and celebrating success reinforces the value of the change and the effort that went into making it happen. It also builds a positive association with change, making future initiatives easier. 

Change is inevitable for firms that want to grow and be successful, and people are the heart of change. Make sure you address the people side of change with a clear vision, effective communication and strategies for leading change. Be authentic and transparent about the situation and bring your team members along as stakeholders in creating new solutions. By reminding your team that you’re all in this together, you can better lead them toward meaningful impact. 


Do you want to hone your leadership skills beyond technology?

The Boomer CIO Circle is a peer group for Chief Information Officers in the accounting profession. Together, they work on growing their skills in innovation, budgeting, finance, communication, project management, marketing, sales and human resources to grow into confident leaders in their firms. Apply now to start building valuable long-term relationships with other forward-thinking CIOs. 


Erin Shively, IT Coordinator at Boomer Consulting, Inc., is excited to grow the company’s existing tech stack with new and emerging technologies. Her role includes troubleshooting technology issues, tracking and creating internal processes, and handling on-site tech set up for events at the Accounting Innovation Center.


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