I was catching up on my reading over the weekend and I came across a short essay published by the Harvard Business Review. Two paragraphs of the article struck a chord. They read as follows:
“Professional success used to depend on experience, knowledge, and skill. But things have changed in recent decades. First, knowledge has become as rapidly obsolete as universally available. Second, we live in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world where, I often say, even the past has become unpredictable. And, finally, business has become more global and diverse.
In this new normal, experience and knowledge are less relevant, while the abilities to learn and adapt, to be resilient and to connect with others are ever more crucial.”
When one pauses to reflect on the genius of the above quote, one can appreciate better the evolution of professional services and the changes that must continue. For example, in tax advisory services, the simple strategy to grow a firm has been to attract the “best and brightest” talent so as to ensure that the advice provided to clients was superior as compared to peers/competition. Today, however, while attracting the “best and brightest” is still a decent strategy, I would suggest that being a resilient firm and having teammates that are able to cope with rapid change is more valuable to clients.
As the author of the short essay stated, knowledge is easily attainable and very quickly obsolete. Building a team that is resilient is more valuable. Teammates that are able to find knowledge, recognize when the knowledge is old, able to dismiss such old knowledge in favour of new knowledge, can anticipate change for the benefit of clients, can grasp new technology for the benefit of all, and can use coping mechanisms to deal with the rapid change are all much more valuable than simple knowledge and experience in today’s professional services environment.
It used to be that bigger is better when dealing with professional service firms. However, such big firms no longer provide the comfort and security for the client and the professional that they once appeared to. One only needs to look at recent large firm failures for examples of such. I believe that clients now require firms that are resilient and able to react quickly to a rapidly changing world.
At Moodys, that is exactly what we are… a firm that is resilient. Canadian tax, US tax and cross-border tax laws are constantly changing and we strive to keep current for the benefit of our clients. Our firm is also nimble in nature which enables us to react quickly to such changes.
In the days, weeks, and months ahead our firm will be announcing changes that we are making in order to continue providing the resiliency that a tax advisory firm requires in order to anticipate changes for the benefit of our clients. We are very excited about these changes and look forward to sharing them with you soon!