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It’s not too late to resolve to improve

Shutterstock_461317267The first month of the year is over and, for several reasons, I’ve not committed to any goals in 2020. Has that happened to you? I always try to set goals around learning — one for fun and one to enhance my career. Let’s apply that adage, “It’s better late than never.”

The digital revolution has changed my communications profession. Dedication to learning is not optional. It’s mandatory for me to keep up. As a CPA, you are also in a constant race to outpace change. Technological developments fuel workplace changes and challenge you to stay on top of every skill set. To thrive in the digital era, you need to “unlearn” some old routines and develop some new (and unexpected) skills and competencies. Here are four resolutions every CPA should consider this year:

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1. Prioritize learning.

I can’t stress this enough. Your relevance largely depends on whether you remain up to speed with the technologies that are transforming the profession — automation, data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence, just to name a few. Merely knowing about these technologies is not enough. You also need to understand how to apply that knowledge to bring your firm or organization greater value. To do this, you must remain a student — a perpetual learner. That means seeking out, ingesting and internalizing new technologies and ways of doing things. Find ways to infuse learning into your workday — by listening to a podcast on the way to work or facilitating workshops at your company. You can also commit to participating in a specific number of webinars, self-study options or conferences. ENGAGE, our largest annual learning event, is a great way to check off a few of these goals in a few days. If you set a goal of tackling one or two of these per quarter and evaluate your knowledge base at the end of the year, it’s highly likely you’ll be an even greater asset to any team by 2021. Since advising is the future of the profession, absorbing knowledge takes top precedence.

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2. Automate repetitive and tedious tasks.

It’s important to learn how to increase the efficiency of your practice or business. Starting this in 2020 means you may already be too late, so it’s essential to do it by the end of the year. It’s time to move away from the tedious and laborious tasks. That’s so 1990s. Say hello to robotic process automation: the code to your future as an adviser. Although automating age-old practices may seem daunting for large organizations, it’s easier than you’d think. More importantly, it will free you to do even more learning and important tasks. That way, you can innovate, plan, strategize and lead organizations that place their financial well-being in your hands.

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3. Take a mental break.

With the overwhelming rise of new technologies that improve our work and personal lives, it’s easy to get attached to the devices that control them. That’s right: Our laptops, mobile phones and other devices can make it hard to separate ourselves from demands and the connected world. Ultimately, an inability to disconnect can contribute to all types of pressures or stresses in professional and personal relationships. It can also affect your health and your work productivity. In 2020, vow to mindfully use technology. This practice encourages select and intentional use of technological devices so that you take fulfilling work breaks that make you more productive in the long run. Mindful technology use also highlights the importance of learning to be present in every moment, especially shared moments, to keep interpersonal relationships fruitful and healthy.

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4. Nurture your network.

In today’s digitally connected world, we can forget that it starts and ends with people. Building and fostering your network is one of the best ways to set yourself up for career success. Make it a goal to reconnect with at least one professional contact every week. It can be as simple as sending them a short email or LinkedIn message asking how they are and how they’re enjoying working for their current firm or company. When you’re at conferences and events, commit to introducing yourself to a certain number of new people. You never know where those connections will lead. And if you’re ready for the next career challenge, be sure to check out our newly launched Association of International Certified Professional Accountants Global Career Hub, combining the strengths of the AICPA® and CIMA® to bring you a great resource. You’ll see the latest global management and public accounting jobs and access free career resources.

Make 2020 your year.

Don’t let technological changes put you at a disadvantage. You can meet the workplace obstacles that change creates on equal footing if you commit to the four resolutions listed above. Then watch 2020 become the year you get firsthand 20/20 insight into what it means to succeed in the digital age. 

Tammy Atkins, Lead Manager - Integrated Communications, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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