[IMGCAP(1)]It’s a common complaint that the media focuses too much on the negative, preferring to scare its audience, rather than enlighten it. Even we here at Accounting Today have been accused of devoting too much space to stories of the imminent collapse of the profession, and predictions of insurmountable waves of disruption crashing down on accountants’ heads. (A colleague of mine calls this “change-mongering.”)

I’m not going to lie — we do publish plenty of dire warnings and gloomy prognostications. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, it’s sort of fun. Anticipating the worst is much more interesting than predicting the best. Before things finally went south, I’ll bet that Cassandra was secretly having a pretty good time. And let’s not ignore the petty joys of a good “I told you so” on those occasions when the worst really does come to pass.

More important, though, is the fact that, frankly, warnings often matter more than good news. Which road sign matters more — the one for the scenic overlook, or the one that says “Bridge out”? One of our primary jobs is to warn you when the bridge is out, or the professional landscape is shifting in uncomfortable ways, or your retirement is in danger, or your firm is facing a new liability risk.

Granting all that, however, it’s worth proving that we can actually accentuate the positive now and again. And what better time to do that than as we approach the end of the year and start looking forward to 2016? With that in mind, I’m going to devote the rest of this space to talking about all the different reasons why it’s a great time to be an accountant — and why the future looks even better.

  • Technology has removed much of the grunt work from many of your traditional services.
  • The profession has never been a more flexible, accommodating place to work.
  • Demand for your services — and particularly those services that are the most interesting and most profitable — is growing by leaps and bounds.
  • Your clients love you, and want to see more of you.
  • You can serve more of them, more easily, than ever before. Geographic boundaries are melting away, so you can find prospects and job candidates in every corner of the country, and the world.
  • There have never been more ways to be an accountant or more career paths available, so if you don’t like the corner of the profession you’re in, you can easily port your skills to another area.
  • Given your facility with data and sifting through information, you and your firm are perfectly positioned to make the most of some of the coolest business trends, like big data.
  • It’s never been easier to learn new skills and new ways to make you and your firm better and more valuable.

That last one is important, because as good as things are getting, you’ll still have to do some work to adapt to the future. Here are just a couple of great resources: First, there’s the Indiana Society of CPAs’ CPA Center for Excellence, which has a whole suite of programs aimed at making CPAs more agile and flexible in a more-complex world. Then there’s the Anticipatory Organization program championed by the Maryland Association of CPAs and its affiliated Business Learning Institute. This will literally teach you how to predict the future, and give you an edge as you move forward.
You know what? All this positivity is making me uncomfortable, so I’m going to go think about the inevitable decline of print journalism for a while.

You can talk amongst yourselves; I’ll give you a topic: “Whatever challenges the profession may face, 2016 is going to be a great year for accountants.”


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