The overwhelming change you feel today is going to increase. Engage the change.

Image courtesy of before they closed their doors.
Image courtesy of before they closed their doors.

The massive volumes of change you see surrounding you everywhere you look isn’t going to stop. In fact the pace of change is going to increase.

Each of us have a choice. Either figure out how to cope with and embrace the change or ignore it.

The cost of ignoring massive change is that you and your organization will get left behind. That doesn’t just mean you will be a laggard as you continue doing next month what you did last year. Instead that means your organization will radically shrink and before you know it, will disappear.

The downsides are serious. There is an upside and it is exciting.

Four articles I’ve seen lately focus the mind. While these articles are written in either the accounting or church context, they also fully apply in the church and accounting context. They also apply to every individual and organization.

This article will be posted across all my blogs because it applies to all of them.

7/7 – Bill Sheridan at LinkedIn – Embrace change or resist it: Only one option is viable.

The odds are really high that tax preparation will be completely automated in the next two decades. Estimated odds are almost as high that both accounting and auditing will be fully automated.

Consider my business and my core tasks of auditing charities. There is a real possibility those types of audits could be heavily automated in 10 or 15 or 20 years. I am not old enough to bank on retiring before that massive change starts eating away the entire audit profession.

Automation will take over an increasing number of tasks. The world of tax, accounting, and audit will be affected. Mr. Sheridan explains the shelf life of education and experience we have is shrinking.

As the Maryland Association of CPAs routinely points out our learning needs to be greater than the rate of change; L>C is their formula.

A new focus described in the article is “serial mastery.” I think that means constantly becoming master of something new.

Constantly learning.

Constantly replacing those old skills that are about to hit their expiration date.

Writing at his blog, pivot, Karl Vaters on 4/17 describes 5 Massive Changes Coming to Your Church (If They’re Not Here Already). The overwhelming change described by Bill Sheridan is affecting churches from a different direction.

Pr. Vaters says we are in

…the fastest-changing culture ever.

We need to pay attention to that massive change if we wish to stay engaged with the people in our pews and if we wish to draw interest of those away from the faith.

Unlike the swirling confusion of change in our world, the church has a permanent rock that will not change: the good news of Jesus.

In terms of change, he points to five things to think about:

The Way People Earn is Changing.

The days of one income for a two-person household are long gone. We’re not even at two incomes per household. Huge numbers of people are at two incomes per person. Ponder impact on people’s availability and focus.

The Way People Give Is Changing.

The Way People Attend Church Is Changing.

A generation ago people fully engaged in the local church were at church two or three times a week.

I have heard from multiple sources that today a fully engaged person attends worship two or three times a month.

We need to dramatically change our expectations on how often people will even be a campus, let alone how often they will be in worship.

The Way People Commit is Changing.

The Way People Trust is Changing.

The days of automatically having trust just because you’re a pastor or in church leadership are gone. All of us need to earn that trust. And we have to work really hard if we want to keep it.

Ignore those changes and your church will not only shrink, you will also lose the people sitting in the pews today and you will not reach the people outside your building who desperately need to hear the good news.

So what can you do?

I don’t have any brilliant ideas. Not sure I even have any feeble hints of ideas.

First step is to be aware of the massive change. See the above two articles.

Another step would be to intentionally shift your entire brain to an L>C mindset.

Here are two more ideas.

At CPA-Scribo on 7/5, Charles Hall asks Are You All In or Not In at All? The discussion applies directly to CPAs but is applicable to everyone.

Going through the motions and just waiting for Friday to arrive doesn’t just make for a miserable life. It will leave us vulnerable to be getting left behind by the overwhelming change around us.

Mr. Hall suggests

Find your passion, your mission. What is it that elevate your pulse, that causes excitement?

Whatever that may be, figured it out and intently pursue it.

Perhaps you are peculiar like Mr. Hall and me in that you are thrilled working in the audit world. Perhaps you are captivated by corporate or individual tax. Maybe it is helping small businesses get their accounting process working.

The article lists eight other specialties in the non-traditional service area. I recently heard from a colleague about two different CPAs who have niche practices of providing SOC reporting. How’s that for a hyper narrow niche? I will guess that both of those CPAs are swamped and quite engaged with what they do.

Perhaps you need to get out of the accounting world completely. If that is the case, then find what things you are really passionate about, in which you can make a living, and go for it!

As an illustration of the concept of doing what you love, consider just one of many articles like the one at The Tax Advisor on 6/1: Starting a Tax Practice: Are You Ready to Hang a Single.

Article provides many questions to ask and suggests the first few steps if you’ve been thinking about starting your own firm to provide tax services.

Same concept applies you want to start your own firm with any particular focus.

Article provides many things to ponder before you make the jump. The better prepared you are the more likely you will be successful.

I can personally attest there is tremendous joy and professional satisfaction running your own firm with the exact focus that you wish. As a sole practitioner with no staff, I guarantee you I have the best boss possible and the most cooperative staff ever (that’s a joke!). There is tremendous joy in picking and choosing your clients.

How do we engage change and stay ahead of it before it overruns this?

I’m not sure I have any good answers. Awareness is the critical first step.

Trying to engage is perhaps the most important next step.

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