Gary Boomer on the resiliency of the accounting profession

This episode of the Sage Advice podcast features Gary Boomer. Gary is a leading authority on technology and strategic planning in the accounting profession. As the Visionary and Strategist at Boomer Consulting, Inc., he created The Boomer Technology Circles and the CIO Circle, two peer groups that help some of the accounting profession’s top firms bridge the gap between technology and practice management and prepare technology professionals for a seat at the management table.

Below is an edited transcript of our interview.

What have you learned about the accounting profession since COVID-19? What’s new and what hasn’t surprised you?

Gary Boomer:There have been some surprises. There’s also been some substantiation of thoughts I had prior to this pandemic. The big one is kind of a surprise is how quickly the profession went from physical to virtual.

We were right in the middle of tax season. We have had tax partners tell us they just have to have their people [in the office] to operate. But yet, within 48 hours, we proved that that was personal preference, not reality.

The other big thing is the importance of the cloud. We’ve been talking about the cloud at Boomer Consulting for over 10 years. At first, people looked at us like you guys are way out there. They would try to justify their own existence by saying it’s not safe or that it wouldn’t work for their firm.

Well, now we see how important the cloud is and the big challenge that most firms have virtual is that their processes aren’t set up for virtual. And therefore, they have too many manual processes.

Now people are thinking that the new normal is going to be something different than we had before. We’re going to have some people that work virtually some people that work in a physical environment. It’s really going to be hybrid.

What do you think will return to “business as usual” after this?

Gary Boomer: Our marketing message and compelling value proposition to clients will be driven by consulting and advisory services, rather than transactional and compliance services.

It’s much easier to sell transactional compliance, with a message about advisory and consulting, than it is vice versa. We were brought up in a profession where we were order takers, and we thought we were better at sales and customer experience than we really are.

When you assemble a team around unique abilities in marketing, sales, data analytics, project or engagement management, the whole client experience just explodes and gets much better. Then, clients don’t have to think about how many hours someone [charges], they think about the experience, the value, and how you’ve really built this team to take care of their needs.

What are you seeing in terms of specialization, really focusing on fields like medical practice insurance, dentist, etc?

Gary Boomer: Well, during the middle of the busiest time of the year, the CARES Act was passed, and who do the clients go to? They go to their CPA. They don’t go to their banker. They go to their CPA and that’s their front-line financial advisor.

That should tell us something.

The metrics and surveys have told us for years that the most trusted advisor is a CPA, but that CPA is only providing a limited

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