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Preparing for the future: 4 female thought leaders share insight

Shutterstock_1294838686Disruption is no longer a theory. It’s not an imaginary future with a “TBA” label waiting to be updated. You’ve seen the bots with your own eyes, so you know this isn’t a tall tale by a weirdo neighbor sitting on their front porch with antennas attached to an aluminum hat. The decreased need for traditional skills like memorizing and number-crunching, complemented by thinning attention spans indicate a radical change in work style. We are in the thick of the age of disruption. The Go Beyond Disruption podcast, your personal cheat code to beating the bots, celebrates Women’s History Month by chatting with female guest experts in technology and human intelligence.

              For International Women’s Day, these thought-leaders share exactly which skills will help you succeed in a time where the finance and accounting professions are fueled by technology. How is the profession changing? What are the most valuable assets to have on your team? Which new skills should you practice and how can you prepare for the future of work? Here are four thoughts from the Go Beyond Disruption podcast’s “Future of the Profession” episode that answer all your questions. The episode features accounting, tech, and human intelligence all-stars and special guest host, Kim Drumgo, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

  1. "Technology has really changed how we would have traditionally gone about our careers" - Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, CPA, CGMA, immediate past Chairman of the American Institute of CPAs' and Immediate Past Chairman of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

In the past, accounting roles focused on compliance, expense control, and timely reports. Today finance leaders and accountants are increasingly responsible for revenue. Can you find competitive advantages and opportunities? Can you analyze data? Could you lead your organization? The profession used to value employees who memorized important technical knowledge. Today, automated systems like chat blasts, for example, can retain and share important information. Now the profession values creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving skills – all of which are skill sets that happen to be instinctive for women.

  1. "The more diverse your team is, in terms of background, perspective, gender, where they grew up, all of those factors are going to feed a stronger chance of success because you're benefiting from diverse opinions and backgrounds.” - Amy Radin Association board member and author of The Change Maker's Playbook: How to Seek, Seed and Scale Innovation in Any Company.

We’re living in a time of reinvention and where reinvention is important, innovation is key. Given the way automation has changed the face of accounting, clients rely on their accountants for much more than the simple financial support. It’s about investing whole-heartedly, sometimes emotionally, in your clients’ success. Your clients trust you and that trust is maintained with empathy and creative problem solving. These are skills that most women, (likely all, but hey, who’s generalizing?), already possess. The point is, people with different backgrounds or identities will likely have different perspectives and thus, different skill sets. The ability to combine these different skill sets harmoniously feeds team success and it promises innovation.  

  1. " If you spend the time doing the learning and developing the skills that you need, there's a tremendous amount of opportunity… Learning doesn't always have to be formal." Jennifer Gardner, Human intelligence expert and Lead Manager for Communications and Strategy at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

The 2018 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum, says we’ll all need to be life-long learners to succeed in the workplace in 2022. In fact, according to Rosso, it says we’ll need about [101] days of learning. The idea here is that success in the future workplace is about being able to adapt. To do that, you must be willing and able to learn. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you must bury your head in textbooks and start memorizing. If you’re partaking in active learning, meaning you’re taking the time to reflect and apply information that you take in, you’re on the right path. An example: if you listen to a podcast or read an article about blockchain technology, take the time to have a dialogue with someone else, or simply to ask yourself questions like, “how is this going to affect my business?” Don’t forget the important step of answering those questions.

  1. We have to be really intentional. Think about, ‘What am I doing today that's going to help me develop as an individual and draw value for my organization?’...Really think about, ‘Where do I want to be and how do I get there?’" -Clar Rosso, Executive Vice President of Engagement and Learning and Innovation

Machines are starting to take over high-volume, repetitive tasks. So, you’re going to have to rely on your human intelligence to complement what is being done for you. Feeling rusty with those human skills? Then it’s time to create a learning plan (see human intelligence e-book). Identify your strengths, weaknesses and your career goals to tailor your learning plan to your needs. To succeed in the future workplace, it will be crucial to tap into the uncapped potential of innovation to drive value for your organization.

So, there you have it! The future of work is happening now and if you can sharpen your human skills, embrace diversity, become a life-long learner and pledge to learn actively, you will thrive in the age of disruption.

Click here to listen to this Go Beyond Disruption podcast episode and learn more about the future of the profession: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/8914400

Mballa Mendouga, Communications - Manager, Corporation Social Responsibility & Campaigns, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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