Takeaways from the Boomer Consulting BTC Summit 2022

Kate KrupeyFinancial IT, Netgain, The Netgain Team

Wow, what a week. The Netgain Fintech team attended a well-organized and executed Boomer Consulting’s BTC Summit 2022 event at a fantastic new location, the Loew’s Hotel in Kansas City’s Power & Light District. We dabbled in a little BBQ and a lot of engagement with our clients, prospects, colleagues, and friends in the accounting space.

The schedule was full of content-rich sessions including an impressive keynote featuring Kimberly Ellison-Taylor who spoke on inclusive leadership. She challenged the audience to find areas of division in their firms/organizations and to turn them on their end with inclusive behavior. “If you are going to be a leader, you have to be in touch and you have to know how people have walked through their life to get where they are.” Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

What Firms Are Doing

Outsourcing – staffing continues to create serious challenges. Adopting outsourcing models for both core services (tax/audit/cas) and internal services (admin/project management/IT) is on the rise. Key success factors include lean, consistent, well documented processes and handoff points as well as appropriate support models for near and offshore resources.

Security – new security concerns arise with increased M&A activity. Old security concerns remain prevalent in working with all levels of staff while maintaining a culture of inclusion and innovation. 

Data Management – Firms are seeking deeper and broader data aggregation and reporting for insights into their businesses as well as their clients’ businesses. Some are finding a phased approach more manageable.

Firm of the Future

Boomer President Sandra Wiley and Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Marc Staut presented an Imagineering session that painted the picture of a firm in 2030 that had solved all our current day problems and they joined Jim Boomer, CEO, Jon Hubbard and Arianna Campbell for the Boomer Briefing.  Between these content packed sessions – here are some key takeaways:

Staffing Constraints

  • Reconsider traditional jobs in the Firm – break them down into roles
  • Some roles can be outsourced, automated, or performed by non-CPAs
  • Leverage Bots for low value, repetitive interactions with employees and clients
  • High value, human centric client roles should stay with CPAs
  • Think broadly about outsourcing – it can mean near shore, offshoring, gig work, contractors, etc.
  • Use flexible modern platform technology like Azure Virtual Desktop to quickly spin virtual desktops up and down as needed for these workers

Culture/Retention

  • Culture Framework – 4 key questions to ask your employees
  • What has changed since the pandemic?
  • What has stayed the same?
  • What do we want to bring forward into the new culture?
  • What do we want to leave behind?
  • Document the answers and build out your post pandemic, inclusive culture
  • Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement – bring in ideas from outside of the profession
  • Start upskilling from the day employees walk in the door / start working at a higher level much earlier in their careers
  • Be vulnerable leaders – it will attract talent / admit you do not have all the answers / show that your firm is trying to improve
  • Develop inclusive behavior over time and throughout the firm / actively refuse divisive behavior

Technology

  • Optimize a shared physical office space for flexible work schedules
  • Put everthing in the cloud and enable employees to work anywhere
  • Provide consistent endpoint technology that works at home, in the office, in collaboration/conference spaces
  • Transform your IT Departments to support hybrid work models, exponential growth through M&A, outsourced resources, automation, and process improvement initiatives
  • Leverage self-help mechanisms such as guides, bots, natural language queries, micro training videos and gamified training models to reduce or eliminate historical break/fix and level one helpdesk work / facilitating a higher IT IQ across the firm
  • Move to Microsoft Azure Virtual desktops (AVD)to create a fast and scalable environment that supports all types of hybrid and outsourced models / scale up and down quickly as needed
  • Leverage, integrate, and normalize firm and client data for trends and insights / use dashboards

Revenue Growth/Pressure

  • Focus on fewer clients that are the “right fit” and engage them with more services
  • Bundle services and avoid selling one at a time
  • Move from billable time to a value billing model
  • Expand to a global entity with both employees and clients
  • Get comfortable with cross selling and business development to create a growth culture
  • Consider different ways to work in BusDev / if you find what your passionate about, you are never really selling
  • Evaluate staff on the value that they bring to client engagements – not on billable hours

Favorite Quotes from the Summit

“Be the firm that made the changes and lead the group.” Sandra Wiley

“Be the innovator of disruption, not the victim of disruption.” Jim Boomer

“Grow Smarter, not Harder.” Jon Hubbard

“You must have agility and scalability for exponential growth in technology.” Marc Staut

“If you are going to be a leader, you have to be in touch and you have to know how people have walked through their life to get where they are.” Kimberly Ellison-Taylor

It was a great conference and time well spent in community with our peers. We look forward to seeing a lot of you throughout the year and can’t wait to continue our conversations!