Welcome to Change Your Mindset (formerly known as Improv Is No Joke) where it is all about believing that strong communication skills are the best way in delivering your technical accounting knowledge and growing your business. The way of building stronger communication skills is by embracing the principles of applied improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, CPA a.k.a. The Accidental Accountant, will interview financial professionals and business leaders to find their secret in building stronger relationships with their clients, customers, associates, and peers, all the while, growing their businesses.
Ep 67 – Tom Hood | The Anticipatory CPA: How to be Aware, Predictive, & Adaptive in a Changing World
Tom Hood, CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs and the Business Learning Institute, is on a mission to help CPAs make sense of this changing and complex world. Tom and I spoke on the third episode of this podcast, in June of 2016, and a lot has changed in that short period of time.
We discuss how technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing are impacting the accounting profession (and the world), and how CPAs can begin transforming themselves into Anticipatory CPAs.
What is blockchain?
Tom says that blockchain is best described as the Internet of Value. Using secure peer-to-peer data, blockchain basically conveys transactions of value with multiple parties to, effectively, create a public ledger.
This is a real example of a supply chain using blockchain technology, which may help you understand how it works in practice:
- There’s fishermen in a boat off the coast of Malaysia, and they have smartphones.
- When they catch a tuna, they use their smartphone to take a picture. The phone geo locates the photo and it creates the first block of data. The data says this tuna was caught at this location, at this point in time, with these people, and it includes the picture.
- On the dock, the fishermen hand the tuna off to a processing plant, and that creates another block of data showing it was transferred.
- Now it’s being processed. The really good meat is going to go to the sushi restaurant and the other stuff is going to be processed further down to canned tuna.
- The sushi tuna is in another block of data that says it’s going on a truck, and it is delivered to some number of sushi restaurants. Each one of those restaurants is another element of data all about that fish. The restaurant owners and customers can trust, with certainty, that the fish is fresh and high quality.
- In the canning center, the cans come out with a bar code that basically connects it back to that block of data. When someone picks that can off the shelf, they can trace it back to that tuna on that day in that place off the coast of Malaysia. Consumers can trust that these fish weren’t caught using illegal or morally questionable practices.
The real power of blockchain technologies is realized when it converges with cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
If you’re not aware, “the cloud” isn’t just for storing data – cloud computing harnesses the power of any connected device to process tasks more quickly than any single computer possibly could. This exponential increase in processing power has made artificial intelligence significantly more tangible.
Oracle, for example, have a machine called Hana. It could process every tax return in the history of the world, since 1957 to now, in under four minutes.
If accountants can leverage these technologies to do the grunt work in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, they can focus their time and energy on delivering substantial value to their clients by interpreting and analyzing that data.
On top of that, blockchain databases will create an extra layer of trust and accountability, possibly even removing the need for audits entirely in many areas of the accounting industry.
Be an Anticipatory CPA
The idea of being anticipatory is to be aware, predictive, and adaptive. Do you even know that the trend is real? Can you predict what it might do for you or your client or your company? And then what would you start doing to adapt to it?
A CPA’s greatest value is taking complex information and putting it in a context that somebody who doesn’t have that knowledge can understand.
To help prepare you, the Maryland Society of CPAs is working with IBM to create a future-ready learning portal for CPAs to learn about artificial intelligence, big data, data science, deep machine learning, and blockchain.
The portal will give CPAs a familiarity with the technology and an understanding of the terms so that, as this technology starts to unfold, they’ll be able to see the potential and understand the major concepts well enough to communicate with the people controlling these technologies.
- Learn more:
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