Leadership / Management | Organizational Development

Next-gen CPAs are starting a movement


Over the past three days, I got to see the future of work and what a next-gen CPA firm looks like, and it is definitely not your father's CPA firm.

First, we met a group of young CPAs who happened to schedule a tour of the Zappos HQ at the same time as us (MACPA) -- which, coincidentally, we found out and met via Twitter.

Zappos was a fun, casual, crazy environment but clearly steeped in core values, purpose and a customer service attitude that permeated every inch of their offices. It was inspiring and reinforced how important your culture is. Given their recent sale to Amazon at $1.2 billion, it also shows that culture pays! We will be covering more on that in later posts.

Here are pics from our tour, but I should warn you, many CPAs will find them disturbing. :-)

Then, at the Accounting Today Growth and Profitability Conference, we heard from two next-gen CPAs who have taken over their father's CPA firms -- Joday Padar (@JodyPadarCPA) and Jason Blumer (@JasonMBlumer). The picture is the entire group of young professionals starting their own firms or taking over their parent's practices, all of whom found other through social media and are starting their own movement. These tech-savvy CPAs came armed with iPads, iPhones and Flip cameras and had workforces distributed all over the country working in the cloud. They work anywhere and at anytime and use social media to serve clients and acquire new clients. They do things very differently and are finding success.

In my earlier session, The CPA Firm Today: How to Succeed in the New Normal, I talked about the importance of purpose (why), values, and what the net generation wants in the workforce. Both Zappos and these next-gen CPAs really do embrace the eight norms of the next-gen workplace that Don Tapscott talks bout in his book, Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. Here they are:

  1. Freedom: The freedom to work when and where you want.
  2. Customization: My job, my life.
  3. Scrutiny: I know what you did last night.
  4. Integrity: Be a good company to work for.
  5. Collaboration: Teamwork.
  6. Entertainment: Work should be fun.
  7. Speed: Let’s make things happen now!
  8. Innovation: Let me invent.

All I can say is summed up nicely in this quote: "The future is here, it is just not widely distributed". -- William Gibson.