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When the Rules No Longer Apply, Be Like a Startup

When the Rules No Longer Apply, Be Like a Startup | Botkeeper

The world in the time of Corona is upside-down! The first thing to acknowledge is that in the next six to ten months, new legislation, new social and professional norms, and new practices in every sector will become solidified to create a new normal. Where does this position CPAs?





“I would a hundred percent be thinking about this next 60 days as if you are a startup. Everything is up for grabs, and we are figuring it out.” — Gretchen Pisano

Gretchen Pisano, who has been holding our hand through this process, encourages CPAs to lean into this shift. CPAs are trusted supporters of and advisors to our clients, setting them up for as much success as possible. No matter how crazy the world gets, these tenets will not change, but how we execute might.

For as long as we can remember, our practices as CPAs have been rule-based, but the rules no longer apply—or at least we can’t rely on them to support the full breadth of our duties. 


So what can we do? 

Lean in to “value-based services and judgment-based counsel.” We can no longer work according to the preexisting norms of our field; now we have to behave as interpreters of a sea of new information. We have to take that ever-expanding sea of new legislation, new bureaucracy, and new EVERYTHING and translate it all into applicable information to help our clients feel safe, supported, and financially stable/growth-oriented. Same result with very different practices. 

The process of rebuilding best practices, in a storm of financial uncertainty and legislative flux, must be collaborative. We must pool information to understand what's going on around us in all sectors. Gretchen Pisano’s number one rule of thumb on how to get through it: “I would a hundred percent be thinking about this next 60 days as if you are a startup. Everything is up for grabs, and we are figuring it out.” 

How's that for a battle cry?! Sounds pretty good, but what exactly does it mean?

We turned to career startup CEO and Botkeeper’s man at the helm, Chris Mahl, President and CRO, to lay out five bullet points of what it means to embody a startup attitude.

Five Principles to Live by As a Startup | Botkeeper

Five Principles to Live by As a Startup:


1. Pick a problem and focus; specialize on what it is you uniquely provide.

2. Develop the idea of your specialization in context: you must understand every facet of your market-value/service-value. This knowledge informs what your firm must do and its function.  

3. Pick something of value based on recent history, present moment, and foreseeable future. Anticipate your value based on need right now, and try to anticipate how that will evolve based on external factors, i.e., know what's fixed and stable vs. what can change according to market flux and other non-fixed variables. Build something based on what you know and are agile enough to adapt.

4. Have integrity. Know what you set out to protect/provide, and do not waiver.

5. Build for the long-term. That goes for technology and people. Do not prioritize short-term gains over long-term relationships. 

Now, go forth and prosper with startup initiative and CPA know-how! Also, comment below and let's let the pooling of knowledge commence! We are all in this together.

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