Technological advances and new gadgets have certainly changed how we live and how we choose to spend our time. No one would argue that point. Despite these wonderful upgrades to our lives, both personally and in our careers, would you be happy if advances in technology (other than medical) stopped today? If your gut says “no way,” contemplate that question for a moment anyway. Do we really need better ways in which to communicate, enjoy entertainment, transport ourselves, cook food and perform our work? Did they think the same thing 100 years ago or even a decade ago? It’s an interesting debate, regardless of the side of the fence you fall on. The Curator will join the side with the better food and beer.
So what has all of this technology led to? Talking with accountants over the age of 35, there is a worry—or maybe even a fear—that the 20-somethings and younger are going to forever change the playing field. I’ve got news for you…it’s already changed a helluva lot.
Like it or not, this is a “scheduled call” world. Gone are the days when you could enjoy the expectation of reaching the person you want to speak with on the phone—and with time to converse, or be in a relatively noise-free environment. With calendars and such on devices in your pocket or purse, business society has truly become mechanized. Younger generations are set to pounce on this and take it to the extreme, too. Have you walked around a high school or college campus lately? You don’t see many conversations taking place, or at least not to the degree of what I was a part of in the 80’s. iPods, tablets and smart phones (not sure if they’re really making us smarter)…coupled with kids drinking coffee (what?!?)…America 2012 has become a science-fiction movie.
According to CTIA-The Wireless Association, the average length of a local call has fallen more than 50% over the last decade to around 1.8 minutes. I don’t think it’s so much that people don’t want to talk; it’s more the case that the machines have taken over our lives. Americans send an average of 41 texts a day, with those aged 19-25 sending an average of 110 texts a day. Tip of the iceberg. The expectation, or even hope, that the person with whom you want to speak is live and available to answer your phone call in today’s business world is vanishing faster than the meat platter at a carnivore convention.
Where does this leave the accounting profession? The need to be on the cutting edge of technology and adapting it to your accounting practice has never been more relevant. With your clients, prospects and referral sources, the playing field has been altered; the historically “slow-to-adapt with technology” label that has been slapped on the accounting profession, right or wrong, must be peeled off. It’s a time of change, yes, but also one of immense opportunity.
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