The firm of the future needs to be ready to adapt to constant change, according to Teresa Mackintosh, executive vice president and general manager of tax at CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, in her keynote, “The Future-Ready Firm,” at the Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase.

“Being future-ready doesn’t mean being futuristic,” Mackintosh said. “It means that you’re evolving.” 

No matter their size, high-performing firms all focus on opportunities for improving efficiency, accuracy and productivity by applying best practices—but they also keep up to date on what constitutes best practices.

“Best practices are based on past practices,” Mackintosh explained, “but they can be come broken processes.” She used the example of keeping a highly organized paper calendar,  which used to be a best practice—but now that everyone has switched to digital calendars, it no longer qualifies.

Mackintosh noted a number of trends that are changing best practices, including:

• The impact of the increase in regulatory requirements and stronger enforcement of regulations.

• Globalization.

• The constant pursuit of efficiency and productivity.

• Consumerization.

• The constant change in processes brought on by technology.

• The cloud.

• Mobility.

• “Big Data” and data analytics.

Firms need to develop a foundation of best practices to be able to handle all the changes brought on by these trends, Mackintosh warned: “The future-ready firm has to be agile—you have the people and process that can adapt to change.”

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