Remember how we felt about the year 2000 when we were kids? It seemed like a magical, impossibly far-off time. We all knew we’d have jet packs, flying cars, maybe even time travel. Think of the possibilities!
So far, the 21st century hasn’t shaped up in exactly the ways we’d imagined. But I think in many ways, that’s a good thing. I’m thankful, for example, that my own kids aren’t strapping on jet packs or zooming around in flying cars. And I think they’re OK with it too. Because in their world, physical location isn’t all that important. They can talk to anyone and accomplish almost anything right from home on their smartphones and tablets. The world comes to them. We’ve achieved the results we wanted in a way that we never imagined back in the 20th century.
And yet, the technological upheaval we’re seeing now is not even the tip of the iceberg. If you attended our 33rd annual SYNERGY conference in Miami Beach, you already know that there will be an estimated 40 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. Forty billion. Seven years from today.
No matter how you feel about that prediction, I think you’ll agree that it can’t be ignored. And as I talked to attendees of this year’s SYNERGY conference, I heard how firm after firm is leveraging the connectivity of the cloud and the mobile web to run more efficient practices, better serve clients, and ultimately drive firm growth and profitability. Every firm has a slightly different approach, but they all share two key drivers: agility and creativity.
I heard from firms that are using the cloud to create always-on links with their clients, build closer relationships, and provide new value-added services that are far more profitable than basic compliance work. I learned how firms are using the integration in the CS Professional Suite to offer new services to existing clients with very little additional effort required of the firm. And I learned how firms are moving compliance work from professionals to administrative staff and improving overall compliance work efficiency by using new automation capabilities in applications like Workpapers CS.
Big changes lie ahead, in our profession and everywhere else. And while I’m still waiting for my flying car, I’m confident that creativity and agility will take us wherever we want to go.
I’d like to thank everyone who attended the 33rd annual SYNERGY conference. Every year, it reminds me that a roomful of like-minded people is the original social network, and still the most powerful one of all.