Will accountants sink or swim?

In March, earlier this year, as COVID-19 and its reality was becoming evident, I was at Kev Ryan‘s The Future Advisor conference in Noosa. Almost surreally, as I recall now, we were discussing what and how Accountants need to change to ensure we survive and thrive in the coming storm.

And then chaos hit. 

Within the next week, change happened at the speed of lightning. For some accounting companies and divisions this meant going from full-time in the office to virtual overnight.  Government changing laws in a blink of an eye; clients bleeding or trying to take advantage of the new relief packages; severe budget cuts, cash flow management; and all this while the push for financial transparency is greater than ever before. All these demands placed most of us out of our comfort zones.        

I’ve not seen the industry so shaken up in a long while, and thought to take the opportunity to do an analysis on what was happening in the Accounting industry, to see if a particular framework was benefiting some to survive and thrive (as was discussed back in the March conference). I looked around at which accountants were drowning under the enormity of the workload, changes in regulations, legislation and stakeholder requirements and which thrived in the current environment? 

What were the attributes, skills and frameworks being applied by these individuals and companies to reduce burnout and remain open to innovation?      

I started to see a pattern for those that invited innovation amidst the turmoil seemed to have some secret magic potion, against those that didn’t. And that’s when the Cynefin Framework, by Dave Snowden and Mary Boone, came to mind and the phrase they coined – “Chaos, is the best time to innovate”. 

But what if you don’t know how to innovate to begin with?

What if the mindset just isn’t there?

Who has the time – if all you are doing is continuously putting out fires? 

You can and you have to. As accountants, we have a tendency to rely on the past in order to determine the future. This tendency right now is flawed in a major way and we can no longer rely on this simple method of thinking.

The Accountants that we see thrive right now are those who have taken full advantage of learning how to innovate and take the time to rethink their ways of working. I hate to use a buzzword, but in this instance it’s very valid – to become more Agile. 

In the next few months, in partnership with Chartered Accountants ANZ and AxisAgile, Project Accounting Australia will be running a series of workshops, which will open your mind to frameworks like Cynefin, Kanban, Scrum and business Agility. These will be limited to 20 people per virtual workshop on a first come first serve basis. To not miss out on this limited opportunity, click here to register.