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The age of the spreadsheet, according to Guy Kawasaki

Year of the CFO As the fog starts to lift and we peer into the future of the recovery, we keep looking for signs of what the future has in store for us. Almost everyone agrees it will be different - fundamentally different. So we keep asking what will the "new normal" look like?

I think best-selling author, Guy Kawasaki might have some clues. He says the new normal will be based on Excel and Great Plains accounting not Powerpoint. In other words business in 2009 and after revolves around real business models, not hype. It's about a focus on the basics of business and real financial results, not betting on the come.

That is where CPAs come in. CPAs are the experts in the language of business. We understand accounting, costs and expenses, cashflow, financing, and solid business models. The MBAs and marketing types are moving over to make way for the financial experts to help navigate this world of less leverage and more regulation.

Even the Economist magazine proclaimed 2009 as the Year of the CFO in their November, 2008 edition of the World in 2009 (cartoon is from the Economist)where they said, "As financial skills are valued more highly, CFOs will make it to the corner office in greater numbers than before. Recession, credit crunch and the increasingly complex nature of global companies will all play directly into the bean counter’s hands."

This is a major opportunity for CPAs in both business (business, government & non-profits) and in firms to step up and take on a leadership role. Let me give you some evidence of this:

  1. The Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development asked us (MACPA) to present to a forum of small businesses titled, Surviving the Economic Downturn
  2. The Wired magazine articleby Dan Roth, about how XBRL can enable transparency and accountability for public companies
  3. David Stephenson's post about using XBRL to improve efficiency and transparency in government and reduce the costs of compliance by the business sector
  4. The latest whitepaper by MACPA's own Bob Tarola on why Chief Accounting Officers should be CPAs (CPAs can be the backbone of the financial reporting system)
  5. The AICPA's whitepaper on CPAs in the C-Suite Download CPA as CFO WhitePaper

Listen to Guy Kawasaki's talk to technology startups where he mentions the age of the spreadsheet:

I close with Guy's closing thoughts (paraphrased), it is still about the next big thing - do something 10X better and make a difference. Are we ready to answer the call and seize the moment?

I suggest you check out Guy's cool on-line magazine rack, Alltop this blog made his Alltop accounting page and check out our new Alltop MACPA page for you.

If you are hungry for more from Guy, I highly recommend his latest book, Reality Check

What do you think, is 2009 the year of the CPA & CFO?