Friday, October 16, 2015

Naked in Public

Just the thought of today’s blog title probably makes most of us cringe – unless you can double for Sofia Vergara or her soon-to-be husband Joe Manganiello, that image is probably best left behind closed doors.

But if you’ve ever had to speak publicly before a crowd with little or no knowledge of the requested subject matter, it’s probably a fair comparison.

I’m beginning to feel that way lately.

For unknown reasons, I’ve been asked to give a presentation in December about the impact of a 21st century IT culture on accounting firms. 

Now many of you know about my Sisyphean struggles through the years with all things technology. Just recently I had our company’s technology consultant on the phone for 30 minutes in an attempt to resolve a printer issue before I realized the unit was unplugged. Last week I somehow managed to jam a display mobile phone at my local Verizon Wireless outlet. No doubt the manager now has my selfie posted with instructions that in the future I be allowed in only under life and death situations.

But on to today’s missive.

While my technology expertise may not be up to snuff, I can tell you that firms with a crack IT culture will be able to recruit a younger talent base much easier than a firm ensconced in an era when “My Three Sons” was still on prime time. Millennials don’t want to languish away in a cubicle weeks on end – maybe they want to work some days from the local coffee shop or from the comfort of their homes. 

I can also tell you that technology has softened the resistance of many firms to open up satellite offices. It can also help leverage down work formerly performed by partners to the firm’s managers or even staff and subsequently free up said partners to concentrate on more lucrative pursuits such as new business development or high-ticket consulting engagements.

I once heard that ideally, an accounting firm should earmark 4-7 percent of its top line on technology. Some obviously spend more than that and many spend considerably less.

There. I guess I knew more than I thought I did.

I feel a bit better about my upcoming session. But I draw the line at buying and wearing an Apple Watch. I may not be able to design a SIM card, but I’m fairly certain I can tell time without Siri whispering in my ear.

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