Business Strategy | Leadership / Management

How to get ready for the “fast future”

When futurist and business guru Dan Burrus visited us a few weeks ago, he said we are now in the "Big Deal" phase where change and disruption will be the new normal. Three megatrends – technology, demographics and globalization – are causing seismic shifts in the business landscape. We have been calling this the Shift Change.

Now there is new groundbreaking research from Dr. James Canton, released at the Digital CPA Conference a few weeks ago, that reinforces the increasing speed of change and disruption in business and accounting. 

Dr. Canton calls this current state the "fast future," one that will have several "extreme elements" like:

  1. Speed: The rate of change will be blinding, comprehensive in scope, and touch every aspect of your life.
  2. Complexity: A quantum leap in seemingly unrelated forces converging on everything.
  3. Risk: New risks, higher risks, more risks.
  4. Change: Drastic adjustments in your work, community and relationships, forcing you to adapt quickly to radical changes.
  5. Surprise: Sometimes good, sometimes difficult to imagine, surprise will become a daily feature of your life.

The research was released in a whitepaper titled "The CPA of the Future," and outlines some surprising findings that CPAs should pay attention to. First is that the business environment for CPAs and their clients will be characterized by “unprecedented, massive, and highly accelerated change” through 2025. In other words, it truly is the "Big Deal" phase and it's time to pay attention.

Several more findings I found interesting from the study:

  • Less is more: 70 percent of respondents think government regulation is holding back business productivity and growth.
  • 82 percent need to better understand innovation.
  • A growing talent gap? Some 80 percent of CPA firms have concerns about recruitment to meet future needs.
  • 90 percent of CPA firms believe the digital future is rapidly approaching.
  • Planning for disruption: Smart machines, the rise of artificial intelligence, and mobile connectivity may offer new risks and opportunities.
  • Only 8 percent believe the CPA profession is future-ready today.

These findings support our research with Dan Burrus, and he puts an exclamation mark on this pace of change:    [plugin:quote]"Over the next five short years, we will be transforming how we sell, market, communicate, collaborate, innovate, train, and educate." [/plugin]

What shoud you be doing to make yourself and your firm future ready?

Dr. Canton offered these words of advice at his closing keynote at the Digital CPA Conference:

  • Get in synch with marketplace trends that will shape future markets.
  • Understand emerging innovation faster.
  • Create a competitive talent strategy.
  • Embrace globalization opportunities.

I would add the need for new competencies in leadership, strategic thinking, collaboration. and anticipation.   Look for our continued work at the MACPA and our Business Learning Institute in the year ahead as we work to help our members and clients be future ready.

Let's make 2015 the year that we become future ready for the fast future and move from crisis managers to opportunity leaders!