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Light on the horizon? Five years later, lessons from the recession

Anniversary time, everyone! This week we mark five years since Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and pushed our economy closer to the brink of collapse.

Why people want to remember that stinking pile of trash is beyond me. "Those who do not remember the past" and yada-yada-yada, I guess.

As with every anniversary of its kind, there have been plenty of "What's changed?" and "What hasn't changed?" and "What have we learned?" retrospectives in the press lately.

I can't speak for our nation's economic brain trust, but I'm pretty sure CPAs have learned a thing or two. I hope they have, anyway.

For instance:

  • Change is a constant. Get used to it. Expect it, in fact, because this much is true: Your job today won't be your job tomorrow.
  • The economy is the least of your worries. In the last five years, we've seen groundbreaking economic changes, sure. But I'd argue that they've been dwarfed by the massive regulatory, social and technological changes that have defined the last decade.
  • The only way to conquer those changes is to out-learn them, to master new skills and roll with the changes – or as Seth Godin would say, to rearrange your alphabet.
  • With so much chaos in the air, your best bet is to help your clients solve problems. Quit giving them information. Start giving them solutions. In the words of Steve Chaney, "Don't be a bean counter. Be a bean creator for your clients."

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? What's the most important lesson you've learned in the wake of the financial crisis?



Bill Sheridan