April 8, 2021
A KSCPA Ignite Blog by:
Christina Ricke, CPA, CGMA
Principal | K-Coe Isom | Chair of the Kansas Society of CPAs Board of Directors
Juxtaposition. That word is on my mind these days. First, it’s kind of a fun word to say and spell. But really, it’s that it’s present all around. Juxtaposition seems to be everywhere I look: in our industry, and in the tension that exists between building relationships and expanding automation.
I entered the accounting industry as a shiny new college graduate 26 years ago. When I think about work I did and how I did it, the technology I used then compared to what new college graduates experience today…it’s almost unrecognizable. I wrote out my blasted timesheet on paper; cell phones were called “car phones” because they were attached to the car and only used to make an actual phone call; computers were NOT carried around…you would have needed a Costco cart! Building productive, trusting relationships with customers and colleagues has always been important. It’s just fascinating that the emphasis on human connection now duels with an equally strong push to find places to remove human interaction from the process.
Then, there’s the juxtaposition between diversity and inclusion and cancel culture. If I came to you and said “let’s get some really smart people together with different expertise and common interests and goals to create an environment/business where we are free to be ourselves, are comfortable sharing ideas, and can design solutions/products to help others,” who wouldn’t say yes to that? But then, imagine I said, “And as we do that, everyone involved has to agree to read, watch, eat, dress, say all the same things and like it.” I’m guessing you would look at me thoroughly confused and say, “That’s not possible.” And you would be right. Inviting diversity of thought has always been risky business, and it will always be. Even though I say I want it and seek it….deep down I know it means I might be wrong, have to change, or question a belief that is really comfortable to me as it is. The far greater tragedy is to stop talking, discussing, and questioning. My teenage daughter is asking me tough questions these days. We don’t agree on everything for sure. At times I’m pretty sure we don’t even like each other every day! But we do love each other, and we come back together after an argument to have a better conversation. Do I come home sometimes hoping her only question is “What’s for dinner?” and that she always likes my answers? Heck yes. But if the alternative is her not talking to me at all, I absolutely will ‘embrace the suck’ (to quote Brené Brown) to have a deeper relationship with her. Like all of you, our firm is investing in growing all aspects of our diversity and improving our ability to have people feel included as we do. If I’m being totally transparent, I’m a bit resentful that we’re having to do it amidst the juxtaposition of a cancel culture climate. But do it we must, and we will be better for it.
More and more, I find myself reading our organization’s mission, vision, values and culture statements to guide me. When is the last time you read those items for your company? They can be a touchstone when you’re not sure how to navigate the difficult decisions you’re often called to make. So, with those tools in hand, here are my calls to action for each of you as we navigate this time of juxtaposition in our lives: Live curiously. Embrace the suck. Invest in your relationships.
Thank you for all that you do to support your customers, employees, community and the profession!
The Ignite blog is an official publication of the Kansas Society of CPAs, Copyright 2021.
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