We have had many blog posts about the attributes, personality and skills of a leader.
Dealing with uncertainty and making businesses ‘safe’ against a backdrop of technological change is one such skill.
In the modern lexicon VUCA has come to replace ‘Change management’ as a key acronym because this new definition of ‘change’ is rapidly be becoming the ‘new normal’ as AI, the Internet of Things and Big data drive the pace of change at neck breaking speeds
VUCA is not localised either, markets are becoming fragmented through Government actions on protectionism and the counter action of Tech Giants transcending national borders and replacing globalisation with Internetisation and the use of AI.
Globalisation generally is becoming difficult to understand purely and simply because regulations and trading arrangements are coming under stress from various sources in response to changes in the way we do digital business.
There is now little time to ‘embed’ the change and catch the organisational breath necessary to embrace and manage the transition. Most Accountants have been taught that adaptation to change is best managed gradually. However the pace of change is speeded up and the magnitude is greater.
Against this backdrop Accountants need to display confidence in dealing with uncertainty and the digital economy.
This new skill means being confident that you can deal with what is unknown and deal with it appropriately.
The debate after the financial crisis in 2008 to 2013 was a debate about quality of leadership and what sort of leaders we have, indeed the worst excesses of shareholder value and Director Behaviour were to blame for the liquidity crisis. Whilst we have debated the merits of shareholder value elsewhere, can we say that Accountants should re align their behaviour and thinking?
Certainly trends in current business would mean that room must be made for the impact of AI and technology on our lives and many leadership courses in MBA teaching have begun to include this important topic.
So whilst we may become familiar with Blockchains and Crypto currencies, Accountants still have to empower, encourage or support skills that deal with these new concepts, the pace of change and still retain a sustainable business model.
Accountants are now concentrating on their own personal leadership styles within a more holistic and ethical framework, as well as trying to instil in Business via information a greater sense of agility leading to better quality responses.
This new form of accounting is beyond people, processes and numbers but takes a more inclusive view of the role of business in the environment and takes the sustainability debate into new and uncertain territory.
This also includes an admission from leaders that they don’t have all the answers, but they have built an organisation and a network with a better resilience and a better climate for response because Leaders are now able to listen, sift through masses of accounting data and realise they need additional help from every level of business to arrive at an appropriate response.
By utilising technology and big data, accountants can produce better and swifter information to cope with the external pace of change. The Accountant therefore that includes how we deal with AI as a tool rather than as a threat will be the one that makes a difference. AI can also help in taking the drudge out of an Accountants role and allowing more capacity to develop appropriate responses.
That is why traditional accounting and numbers should now transform themselves into Big Tech or Big Data issues.
This in itself is a big challenge for accountants because it also means better digitally focussed information.
The bottom line I all this is that Accountants have moved on from merely imparting knowledge at a technical level of ‘intelligence’. We have a trend in business also to develop further emotional, political and social intelligence in our leaders, what is required is a conceptual framework to be developed around the use and employment of ‘ Artificial Intelligence ‘ to add to the Accountants armoury and be able to cope with the ‘new normal’ that is constant change.