What we can learn from accountants about innovation

What we can learn from accountants about innovation

You’ve done the hard yards, got the team in place, the right product, the pricing is working and being well accepted, so why not just take that well-earned rest and look forward to ongoing bliss and success?

Being successful is not easy – it’s a formula of putting the right parts in the right place. Why then would you consider tinkering with the formula – why not just leave things? Why not cash in with a return on investment that you deserve?

The consistency of change is more potent than ever. People respond to challenges and are often ready for the quest for growth. Unfortunately that might just mean chasing your customers and an attack on all those successful things you’ve come to rely on.

When I was young, you thought of an accounting firm in one dimension – they just did your accounts, right? Well, take note: accountants are now leading the way.

In The Australian Financial Review yesterday an article about how leading accounting firm PwC (they are more than accountants offering a full range of professional services) had just had one of its top executives, Richard Deutsch, leave to join Deloitte.

Currently, Deloitte is the second largest firm. What’s particularly interesting is not just the changes in personnel but what Deutsch said of what was considered the last bastion of conservative business: “Innovation and design thinking will be central to the long-term sustainability of the accounting profession… Any particular part of the firm is having to constantly reinvent itself.” 

I’ve not met Richard Deutsch but this quote and others in the article attributed to him are correct for every business.

There has been no shortage of changes that I have seen over the years in the digital world.

In past years, if you had a great product and could afford to advertise it on television you could be pretty comfortable and assured of doing well. Today, given the changes in behaviour, we are watching less television than ever before, and if we do watch a favourite program it may be on demand and without the ads.

If you advertise online you can target your audience, but you need to consider if your campaign will be more effective via social media or through a variety of digital ad options, or a combination of both. Change is most definitely upon us.

Next week I have the pleasure of hosting Dr Jeff Cole, who heads up the Digital Center for the Future. There are many things really interesting about Jeff and the Who’s Who he has consulted to around the world.  This has included some 500-plus organisations since he was appointed by Al Gore (then VP of the USA) to head up the World Internet Project. This is a project that for some 15 years has monitored the changes in consumer use of the internet.

Today research is obtained from some 47 countries and is supported by a team of researchers in California that are making sense of our changing habits. These habits drive how, when and where and via what device your customers expect you to interact with them.

Netflix, for example, in the USA is now allowing their users multi device access so you may start watching a movie on a large screen and finish up watching it on a tablet or your phone and at different times. At the Ericsson Media Summit in New York last month, this was mentioned not by way of a big thing but just as an indicator that you need to innovate as part of staying in touch.

Last week, too, you may have seen the case study on the use of SMS and how successful it is. True. But the nub of the case study was that a 650% increase in customer engagement occurred when those customers/listeners of the radio station could interact via messaging within an app compared with SMS. Now you ask: what’s next after mobile apps? The answer is obvious – it’s multi-platform, multi-access all available within the app. More next time…

Dennis Benjamin is the founder and chief executive of mobile apps specialists AppsWiz and the Informatel Group. He is an expert in the areas of mobile trends, mobile apps, apps for businesses, entrepreneurship, and startups.

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