If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time on staff at Accounting Today it’s that the accounting profession is not boring. It’s not a new revelation for me, but it’s sort of become my mantra, guiding me through four years here.
Most people (outside of the profession) chuckle at this.
I would have too — and when I started this job, I did. I had no idea what I was getting myself into — coming from Maine, where I was covering school board meetings and wrangling in the old-money politics of the Bush vacationland, Kennebunkport. I knew I was a versatile reporter.
It took me four times to pass statistics for my sociology degree at the University of Maine. I needed it to graduate. Numbers, ahem, weren’t my strong point. However, when Bill Carlino hired me he needed someone who could write a story. Learning about accounting would come later.
Boy, did it.
I have to say it’s been an interesting ride.
I started out as technology editor with the publication, which had me writing about updates in software and covering Sage conferences and vendor news. Soon, though, after getting acclimated and talking to my then colleague Alexandra DeFelice, we decided there was a whole readership demographic we weren’t engaged with enough — the younger generation — and we had to do something about it. This realization later led to a brainstorming session over wine at our favorite Midtown place, Robert Emmetts, where we wrote about our vision for a blog called Accounting Tomorrow.
The takeaway was that the Baby Boomers may hold the purse strings and be the advertiser sweet spots, but the Millennials were coming and there was a paradigm shift taking place. And there seemed to be very little talking about it.
This is where it starts to get juicy.
Add in the boom of everything online, the sheer increase in sophistication of services needed for demanding clients, and a lack of succession planning to keep practices moving forward into the future and you’ve got a lot to write about. Or let me rephrase that, I had a lot to write about.
Yes, accounting is technical. But the accounting profession is human — and this is what I learned as time went on.
Later, when I became editor of the Practice Resources section, I was interested in writing and finding the stories that illustrated how multi-dimensional accountants and CPAs could be. That dorky pocket protector stereotype — I declare that era as over. I liked hearing about the Harley-riding CPA, or the accountant who worked out an alternative work arrangement with his firm manager because he wanted to spend more time with his … dog. I wanted to hear about the woman who became the first partner in her position as chief marketing officer, the young CPA who started his own practice, burnt out from working for a firm with differing values, and about the CPAs taking over their fathers’ practices to build the firms of their dreams.
It was all about breaking down stereotypes and writing about the ever-evolving profession — one story at a time.
Building on these themes was how Accounting Tomorrow gained momentum. When the blog launched back in November 2008, DeFelice and I had an idea and ran with it (it did, ultimately, outlast the wine). We started a Facebook page and slowly got the word out. Today, it has more than a handful of diverse contributors blogging regularly and 1,400 followers and counting on Twitter. It’s been recognized as a Top Accounting Blog from onlineaccountingdegree.net, and named among Rasmussen College’s 20 Blogs Accounting Students Will Love.
The future of the accounting profession is bright and will continue to be anything but boring. Changing demographics, increased globalization and the virtual workplace won’t let anything go stagnant again. Social media, too, has undoubtedly transformed the way we communicate with each other, bringing the intersection of business, community and collaboration to a whole new level.
The future is here, and I’m happy to turn over the reins to Danielle Lee, who will take my seat on Jan. 3 to write about all these topics and more. In the meantime, as I finish out my last week here, I offer my best wishes to the staff at Accounting Today and feel much gratitude to the many, many wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of writing about and working with over the years. And to you, our readers, thank you for your participation, feedback and support.
We have come a long way.
Liz Gold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.