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Accounting & Change Management

Posted Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

When your accountants are concerned, you should be concerned.

At this year’s American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Practitioners’ Symposium and TECH+ Conference, AICPA Chairman Barry Melancon said to members “Change management, not just change itself, has become a major concern among CPAs.”

Melancon went on to say that to maintain their positions as trusted business advisors, CPAs must adapt and evolve their services. In other words, CPAs have to both practice change management effectively and be able to advise their clients on incorporating effective change management practices into their own businesses.

Some of the big accounting firms have already developed change management consulting services. Others are busy acquiring change management consultancies to round out their service offerings. Unfortunately, offering clients “change management consulting” does not guarantee success. In fact, McKinsey, Harvard Business School and Gallup all agree that only 30% of managed change initiatives succeed. When is a 30% success rate ever acceptable?

So, if you looking to establish an effective change management practice and to advise firms on change management success, here is what you need to know:

White clock with words Time to Adapt on its face

  1. Use one consistent workflow for all of your change initiatives (and advise clients to do the same),
  2. Measure employee change-readiness before and during a change; measure employee adoption rates after; use the feedback to make tactical decisions,
  3. Use a change management application that collects data, provides insightful reports, tracks progress and is based on successful outcomes,
  4. Don’t pay a lot of money for old, unsuccessful paradigms – would you buy a 1990’s car that runs 30% of the time?

Whether you manage change in a small, medium or large enterprise, there is real cause for concern. The world of change management can be confusing for non-practitioners. This may be particularly true for accountants, who rely on data, analysis and outcomes to satisfy client expectations. So, to break through the clutter, we offer this advice – look for applications and consultants that use data, analysis and produce successful outcomes.

In other words, learn to adapt and evolve, or risk extinction.

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