My husband just turned 50, and I’m not that far behind. Between my hot flashes, my daughter leaving for college, and my cloud accounting firm New Vision CPA Group becoming a teenager, it seemed that I needed to do something new and exciting with my life. So, I joined an accounting artificial intelligence-focused tech startup, Botkeeper, funded by Google. Now, I work for a 30-year-old!
OMG. I never saw that coming. Hello, midlife crisis? Or the next radical step in my journey to make a difference in the CPA profession.
How did this happen? Well, actually, I asked! Yes, I asked. When there’s something that intrigues you and you know you have the skills to do the job, step up to the plate and ask. That’s something I would have never had the confidence to do when I left my old-school firm almost 13 years ago. If there is one thing you learn as an entrepreneur and in building a business it is that nothing happens if you don’t ask.
When I saw the opportunity to build something new and utilize what I do best, I couldn’t resist. I am an accounting ambassador and bot advisor. Perfect role for me, right?!
What’s it like to work at a young tech startup? Fun! Exciting! Fast! Sometimes overwhelming! I feel like a “mentern” — part mentor and part intern — all at the same time. And I refuse to stay at the shared Airbnb — like the “Real World” house — when they travel to conferences. For sure, that reference carbon dated me!
What’s it like to work for a leader, a millennial, who could be my son? Awesome! Refreshing! I’ve spent the last decade fighting old-school baby-boomer partners and trying to get them to embrace the cloud and other new technologies.
However, those partners’ business model and retirement plans have locked them into broken firm models that are slowly dying, and it’s getting faster by the season. My career was spent looking up to and learning from older CPAs who were so busy that they couldn’t see the world around them changing. But the market has significantly changed, and now the old-school firm owners are hungry for tech out of fear they will be left behind.
Top 4 Most Popular Ai Articles:
1. Machines Demonstrate Self-Awareness
2. Visual Music & Machine Learning Workshop for Kids
3. Part-of-Speech tagging tutorial with the Keras Deep Learning library
4. A Short Machine Learning Explanation
Now, I can follow someone who sees the future as I do and isn’t stuck in “that’s the way we did it last year.” A leader who has skills built for the future. I can be a supportive leader utilizing my best legacy skills and learning new ones. Do you see why I’m so excited?
Watch out, 2019, it going to be radical!
Will robots take over the accounting profession in 2019? Yes or no?
Absolutely they will. Quite frankly, they are already here. But you still need humans, too. It’s not all or nothing. Our firm of three people is utilizing them today!
But what’s a bot? As I’ve learned in my short time in technology, most accountants don’t know. They think they know, but they don’t. Basically, it’s an algorithm or a line of code, not a robot. You can copy and paste the code, so they multiply indefinitely to fill the talent shortage. Some of my bots have been smarter than my new hires.
Machine learning and AI is way harder to understand than that. The really cool part is you, as a CPA, don’t need to understand all of the details. All you need to know is that you want the bot “sitting in the cube next to you” doing some repetitive task with data. Then the technology folks take it from there. Finally, we can have time to do the work we really want to and be better advisors for our customers. Or, really, just go home early!
Jody Padar, CPA, MST, is CEO and principal at New Vision CPA Group and the author of The Radical CPA and From Success to Significance: The Radical CPA Guide. She is now the accounting ambassador and bot advisor at Botkeeper. You can follow Jody on Twitter @jodypadarcpa.