Sage, BLI join forces to help accountants master the skills of the future

You’ve heard it time and time and time again: The world of accounting and finance is changing before our eyes.

You can blame relentless technological advances, unprecedented regulation and legislation, and demographic shifts that are changing the face of our workforce. At the same time, our clients’ expectations are undergoing some radical transformations of their own. Clients no longer want their accountants to crunch the numbers. They want us to tell the stories behind those numbers and become true advisors who will help take their businesses to the next level.

To do that, accounting and finance professionals need a new set of tools.

As part of a unique partnership with the Business Learning Institute, Sage has defined those tools in what it calls the Sage 7C Transformation Model.

“Accounting is a changing and challenging profession,” said Jennifer Warawa, Sage’s executive vice president of partners, accountants and alliances. “New technology, regulation, competition, and a war on talent are altering the ‘practice of now.’ The Sage 7C Transformation Model helps accountants learn new skills, anticipate the future, and reorient their thinking to put their firms ahead.”

The model points to seven pillars (each starting with C) that will help accountants build a future-ready practice. Those pillars are:

  • Core beliefs: Establishing your mission, vision, and values will determine how you lead. Outlining your core beliefs will help you decide where you want your firm to go — and where you want it to gain its competitive advantage.
  • Context: Exploring the landscape will hep you better predict your firm’s future. By seeing what’s coming, you get a clear outline of the context of your work.
  • Culture: Defining your behaviors and beliefs will help you decide how you will evolve. Your future journey is defined by the behavior you encourage, teach, and reward.
  • Common language: Our future journey is defined, in large part, by communication. Using a common language will create a strong internal and external identity and brand.
  • Competencies and competence: The skills we’ll need to succeed in the age of artificial intelligence will be different. Being future-ready with your skills will help your firm thrive.
  • Colleagues: Your firm’s success is built on the strength of your people. No matter the sector, well-trained employees are the most important components for gaining a competitive advantage.
  • Collaborative systems: The technology you use going forward can be the difference between getting ahead and staying behind. Adapting your business model to your technology — or changing it to adapt to new technology — is vital to streamlining your work.

These pillars are interconnected and work seamlessly to help future-ready firms identify and capitalize on their next competitive advantage. In that light, the 7C Transformation Model looks like this:

The model was vetted after conversations with more than 50 accountants and thought leaders, with Sage and the Business Learning Institute offering the programs that will teach accountants how to implement these pillars into their organizations.

“Transformation is a journey,” Warawa said. “Our commitment is to support accountants to adapt and stay relevant by embracing new technology and ways of working.”

“Our clients depend on accounting and finance pros to help take their businesses into the future, but we can’t do that by relying on the skills that got us here,” said Tom Hood, CPA, executive director of the Business Learning Institute. “Sage’s 7C Transformation Model defines with absolute clarity the skills we must have to be future-ready, and the Business Learning Institute stands ready with Sage to help accountants master those skills.”

For more information about Sage’s 7C Transformation Model, visit


Bill Sheridan