insight magazine

Building a Bridge to the Future

On the cusp of a historic technological shift, strategy is key to future success. The Illinois CPA Society’s new consulting service is here to help your firm create that strategy. By Hilary Collins | Winter 2020

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For decades, CPA firms have navigated change with a can-do attitude—a practice that has largely brought them great success. But the complexity and speed of the changes confronting the profession today, as well as each firm’s unique specialties, necessitate a deep strategic dive.

“When I talk to groups of CPAs, I often ask whether or not they think the profession has been through a technological revolution in the last 25 years,” says Todd Shapiro, president and CEO of the Illinois CPA Society. “Almost every hand goes up—yes, we’ve had a technological revolution. But I don’t believe we have. We’ve seen an evolution of productivity tools: Excel, software, machine calculations. But we haven’t yet seen a technological revolution like the one that’s coming.”

Technologies like robotic process automation and artificial intelligence have the potential, and are in fact incredibly likely, to change the accounting profession forever. Shapiro says that after Insight’s winter 2019 “Becoming a Firm of the Future” feature was published discussing these coming changes, he received a call from a firm that wanted to learn how to prepare. That call ended up being the inspiration behind the Illinois CPA Society’s new strategic consulting service.

“This service is ultimately a way for the Society to enact its mission of enhancing the value of the CPA profession,” Shapiro says. “We want to help our members and their firms build firms of the future.”

The strategic consulting service offers firms an in-depth exploration of what the future holds for them, and assistance in building a plan to survive and thrive amidst the coming technological revolution. The roadmap to the future could be completely different for each firm, given their unique situations and their specific goals.

“When we help a firm with strategic planning, we sit down and define their strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats,” Shapiro explains. “We use this knowledge to build a bold future vision and a bridge to that future. Where do you want this firm to be in three-to-five years and how do you get there? What do you need to do now?”

He notes that the pace of change will never be slower than it is now. For firms who haven’t yet taken the time to look far into the future and determine how they want to get there, now is the time to begin.

To learn more about ICPAS’ Strategic Consulting Service, contact Todd Shapiro at [email protected].

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