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Top Skills for CPAs, Accounting and Finance Professionals in 2018

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What are the top skills needed by CPAs, Finance and Accounting Professionals in an age of artificial intelligence, Big Data and exponential change?

We have been researching these skills with the leading experts and best-selling authors in the world including the Institute for the Future, World Economic Forum, CPA Horizons 2025, The Second Machine Age, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Then we gathered empirical evidence from thousands of CPAs, finance and accounting professionals across the world in interactive surveys and our work with leading talent and learning professionals to synthesize these skills into the top eight competencies for the future. They are as follows:
1. Communications
2. Leadership
3. Anticipating and serving evolving needs
3. Strategic and critical thinking / Synthesizing intelligence to insight
4. Communication
5. Integration and collaboration
6. Tech-savvy and data analytics
7. Functional and domain expertise

This research led us to the work of global futurist and best-selling author Daniel Burrus whose work with the top global companies in the world reinforced our research and clarified how this anticipation competency can be learned and applied in accounting and finance.

The results are that we believe the most important or fundamental competency is anticipation (anticipating and serving evolving needs). This competency positions the accounting and finance the professional to be future ready or aware, predictive and adaptive of emerging trends and issues. This led to the development of the Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition www.blionline.org/ao) with Daniel Burrus.

Through our work, at the Business Learning Institute (www.blionline.org) we have assembled the best thought leaders and instructors to develop courses that can elevate and accelerate the development of a 'future ready' curriculum for CPA firms, corporate finance and accounting teams, nonprofits and government organizations.

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Top Skills for CPAs, Accounting and Finance Professionals in 2018

  1. Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA CEO Maryland Association of CPAs Business Learning Institute@tomhood The Top Skills Needed for Accounting and Finance Professionals in an Age of Machines
  2. VUCABorrowed from the US Army War College, VUCA was coined by The Institute for the Future to describe the rapidly changing and complex business environment since the Great Recession of 2008. Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity The New Normal
  3. Industry 4.0 - CPA 4.0 The Fourth Industrial Revolution
  4. 1. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing in audit and tax 2. Big Data and high-speed data analytics 3. Adaptive and predictive cybersecurity 4. Virtualization and automation of processes and services (RPA – Robotic Process Automationn) 5. Mobile apps for business process innovation 6. Blockchains and cryptocurrency 7. Advanced cloud computing 8. Smarter smartphones and tablets drive mobile process automation 9. Virtualization of desktops, storage, applications, and networking 10. Social business applications Source: 2018 Top technology Trends – Burrus Research BLI-MACPA Research with over one thousand finance and accounting professionals Top 10 Technology Hard Trends Shaping the Profession in 2018
  5. The capacity to be anticipatory (aware, predictive and adaptive) of emerging technology and trends in business, demographics, and the social environment impacting your organization and industry. Source: CPA.COM Insight into the CPA of the Future Study 2015 92% of CPAs Not #FutureReady Our purpose at BLI is to accelerate accounting and finance professionals in being even more future-ready and elevate their role as pro-active future-focused advisors
  6. Source: Forbes / KPMG Audit 2025 - The Future is Now
  7. In a period of rapid change and increasing complexity, the winners are going to be the people who can LEARN faster than the rate of CHANGE and faster than their COMPETITION. Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA Our philosophy – what we believe…
  8. Future Ready Competencies in the Age of Machines Our Research: Future Ready Competency Matrix © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017 Start with the leading research on competencies and skills needed in the future. Core competencies are a unique combination of human skills, knowledge and technology that provides value and results to the user. Enhancing the profession’s core competencies is key to sustaining a competitive and differential advantage in the marketplace.
  9. #FutureReady Competencies in the Age of Machines
  10. #FutureReady Competencies in the Age of Machines • Leadership • Anticipating and Serving Evolving Needs • Strategic & Critical Thinking / Synthesizing Intelligence to Insight • Communication • Tech-Savvy & Data Analytics • Integration & Collaboration • Functional & Domain Expertise Our Research: Future Ready Competency Matrix © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017
  11. Future Ready Competencies in the Age of the Machines Leadership Anticipating and Serving Evolving Needs Strategic & Critical Thinking and Problem Solving / Synthesizing Intelligence to Insight Communication Technology Savvy & Data Analytics Integration & Collaboration Functional & Domain Expertise Lead & Inspire people Empathy Build relationships Social & emotional intelligence Service orientation Emotional intelligence People management Negotiation Cross Cultural Competency Social Intelligence Globally focused & Cross cultural Team Development Ideation Creativity Innovation Brainstorm (Ideation) creativity / innoavtion Novel & adaptive thinking Complex problem solving Critical thinking Creativity Transdisciplinarity Novel and Adaptive Thinking Future-Facing Large frame pattern recognition (outside their frame) Strategic Guidance vs Tactical Acuity Sensemaking Cognitive flexibility Judgment and Decision Making Design mindset Cognitive Load Management Complex communication New media literacy Computational Thinking Tech Savvy Collaborate Coordinating with others Virtual Collaboration Collaborative mindset Finance and Accounting Professional Competencies Moral and Ethical Reasoning Look, Lead, Love,Learn Critical Thinking Skills: For Financial Professionals Smarter Decision-Making and Problem Solving for Leaders Seven Secrets of Successful Business Communication – Part 1 Analytics and Big Data for Accountants Leading and Collaborating in a VUCA World The Eight Hour MBA: Key Concepts of Leadership Strategy Critical Thinking For Finance Strategic Problem Solving: How to Solve Tough Challenges the Mastermind Way Seven Secrets of Successful Business Communication – Part 2 Blockchain, Big Data and Business Intelligence for Accounting and Finance Value of Collaboration – The Art of Relationship Management MBAexpress: Emotional Intelligence Critical Thinking, Case Studies and Fraud Tapping Into The Problem Solving Power of Your Team Effective Communication and Negotiation (Controller Series) Understanding the Transformational Power of Data and Analytics Look, Lead, Love,Learn The Upside of Stress Creativity & Innovation MBAexpress: Smarter Decision- Making MBAexpress: Communication in the Workplace Keeping Up With Technology 2017 Microsoft OneNote Digital Note- Taking Note-Taking and Collaboration MBAexpress: Nuances of Negotiating The Anticipatory Organization: Accounting and Finance Edition The Eight Hour MBA: Key Concepts of Powerful Communication Effective Communication and Negotiation MacGyvering: The Art of Being Resourceful in a Crisis Communications with Executive Presence for Business Success How the Best Financial Executives Create High Future Ready Competency Matrix © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017
  12. The #FutureReady T-Shaped Finance and Accounting Professional TechnicalandFunctional Knowledge&Expertise Tech-savvy&Data Analytics Deep Wide Leadership Anticipating and Serving Evolving Needs Strategic & Critical Thinking / Synthesizing Intelligence to Insight Integration & Collaboration Empathy, Trust & Relationships Communication Future Ready Competency Matrix © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017 Boundary Crossing Competencies
  13. Organizational Leader Individual Contributor Manager the Bounce © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017
  14. BLI Competency & Career Path Leadership Anticipating & Serving Evolving Needs Strategic & Critical Thinking/Synthesizing Intelligence to Insight Communication Integration & Collaboration Tech-Savvy and Data Analytics Technical, Functional & Domain Expertise Core Values: Integrity – Competence - Lifelong Learning - Objectivity Commitment to Excellence - Relevance in Global Marketplace Purpose: CPAs, making sense of a changing and complex world. Organizational Leader Manager Individual Contributor • Financial accounting and auditing • Cost accounting • Business planning • Management reporting and analysis • Corporate finance and treasury management • Risk management and internal control • Accounting information systems • Tax strategy, planning and compliance • Understand and leverage relevant technology in conjunction with core competencies to deliver superior services. • Aware of exponential technologies and ability to anticipate impact on business (cloud, A.I., Big Data, Blockchain0 #FutureReady – Aware, Predictive and Adaptive of emerging trends and issues that will impact the organization and its clients and customers, internal and external. Adept in identifying strategic directions and opportunities to meet the evolving needs of those we serve. • Effective at building strategic alliances and working collaborativel y to provide multidisciplina ry solutions to complex problems. • Mobilizing consent • #MBSN Management by Sticky Notes Future Ready Competency Matrix © Copyright Business Learning Institute 2017 • Team building • Coaching and mentoring • Driving performance • Motivating and inspiring • Change management • Adept at influencing, inspiring and motivating others to facilitate change and achieve excellence. • Expertise in connecting data, performing analysis and using business acumen to provide astute guidance for better business decision making. • Expertise in connecting data, performing analysis and using business acumen • Emotional Intelligence • Executive presence • Able to effectively exchange reliable and meaningful information, using appropriate context and interpersonal skills.
  15. You may have heard of SaaS (software as a service). Subscription, cloud-based services like Salesforce, Gmail and Google Apps, and Quickbooks are all SaaS products. Now, BLI offers on-demand learning as a service, or LaaS. • Available 24/7 from anywhere • Unlimited access • Incredible learning catalog For one flat fee, your team of 5 or more can get our entire library of on-demand learning options. Or, you can customize a course catalog just for your organization.
  16. • Anticipation • Strategic Thinking • External Awareness • Vision • Continuous Learning • Innovation • Creativity • Problem Solving • Prioritization • Business Acumen • Decisiveness • Influencing/Persuadin g • Emotional Intelligence • Consensus Building • Collaboration • Inspiration • Risk Management • Communication www.blionline.org/ao
  17. Confidential – Internal Use Only Culture = Mindset, Skillset, and Toolset In order to remain competitive, to stay relevant, even to survive in this age of exponential change, HBK must adopt an anticipatory mindset, a ‘future view’ based on the hard trends we see shaping our future, and use those insights to help our clients capitalize on the opportunities that accompany digital disruption. Learning to anticipate and adjust to this new age in financial services is significantly changing the way our team members think, allowing us to be future-ready, ensuring we will be even more relevant as trusted advisors to our clients." Christopher Allegretti, CPA, Managing Principal and CEO of HBK. www.blionline.org/ao
  18. THE ANTICIPATORY ORGANIZATION™ MODEL An Innovation and Transformation Accelerator KNOW WHAT’S NEXT Transform Planning DEVELOP OPPORTUNITIES Transform Innovation SHAPE THE FUTURE Transform Culture ACCELERATE SUCCESS Transform Results blionline.org/ao
  19. blionline.org/ao KNOW WHAT’S NEXT Transform Planning Ø Identify Hard Trends Ø Identify Soft Trends Ø Predicting Change Ø Transformation Influencers DEVELOP OPPORTUNITIES Transform Innovation Ø 8 Hard Trend Pathways Ø Accelerating Innovation Ø Anticipating Customer Needs Ø Game-changing Opportunities SHAPE THE FUTURE Transform Culture Ø The Power of Futureview Ø Leveraging Disruption Ø Using Certainty to Sell Ø The Collaboration Imperative ACCELERATE SUCCESS Transform Results Ø Elevating Trust Ø Time Travel Audit Ø Skipping Problems and Barriers Ø Reward Desired Behaviors THE ANTICIPATORY ORGANIZATION™ MODEL An Innovation and Transformation Accelerator
  20. IBM – MACPA-BLI Partnership Keeping you Future Ready https://bdu.blifutureready.org
  21. MBAExpress Key MBA Concepts in hours, not years. https://www.macpa.org/learning/mbaexpress/
  22. If there is a conversation about the future of the profession, you're bound to hear Hood's name mentioned as one of the people leading the way. Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA • Top 100 Influencer by Linked-In w/ 750,000 followers • Member of Forbes Finance Council • CPA Practice Adviser Accounting Hall of Fame • Named the Second Most Influential Person in Accounting by Accounting Today Magazine for the past five years • Top 25 Influencers in Learning & HR by HR Examiner • Top 25 Public Accounting Thought Leaders by CPA Practice Adviser CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) www.macpa.org Business Learning Institute (BLI) www.BLIonline.org www.linkedin.com/in/tomhood/ – Accounting Today

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