Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Creating Value With New Business Models in Accounting

Ed Kless joined Sage in July of 2003 and is currently the senior director of partner development and strategy. He develops and delivers curriculum for Sage business partners on the art and practice of small business consulting including the Sage Consulting Academy, Business Strategy and Customer Experience Workshops.

He hosts the Sage Advice Podcast and co-hosts the VoiceAmerica TalkShow Network’s The Soul of Enterprise with Ron Baker, founder of the VeraSage Institute where Ed is also a senior fellow. Now, as well as being a popular speaker at accounting conferences Mark is also a frequent blogger and contributor to various accounting journals, websites and Linkedin. His practice-focused articles for AccountingWeb, have been viewed over one million times. Shownotes:

  • Why Ed truly does have the best job in the world at Sage
  • The evolution of the business model in professional firms
  • Freedom and accountability at work are the same thing – to have accountability at work, you’ve got to give people their freedom
  • Some software companies have made the transition to cloud successfully, such as Adobe, and Sage are following in their footsteps
  • Accounting firms have to contend not just with a technology shift but a change in their optimum business models
  • A frightening thought – the pace of change right now is the slowest it will ever be
  • Andy Grove of Intel – the biggest threat to disruption is not new technology but new business models
  • How Apple changed the business model for the way people acquired music
  • Why Darwin is misquoted because it’s not survival of the fittest biggest – it’s survival of the most adaptable
  • Adaptability should be a key strategy for progressive accounting firms – seeing what’s coming up on the horizon
  • The starting strategy question should be ‘how are we going to create value for companies and people that we serve in the future five years from now?’
  • Putting too much emphasis on different generations in the workplace is like ‘astrology for business’
  • Profits come from taking risk – if you don’t want to take a risk, put your money in government bonds and play safe with a 2% yield
  • The 3 types of risk that businesses can take (courtesy of Peter Drucker) and why they are hard to identify
  • The reason why many accounting firms are not ready to move to the cloud is because their current systems are serving them perfectly well
  • The business model of ‘we sell time’ is dying in accounting firms
  • Why so many accountants are not going into accounting firms but going into industry
  • The difference between value, price and cost in any transaction
  • The benefit conversation and the value conversation in drawing out value from clients
  • Great question – ‘What’s the evidence you have that this is a problem?’
  • In the next 5-10 years we will see the virtual elimination of compliance work
  • Accountants are positioned well for advisory, but bookkeepers are positioned even better because they have the relationship skills

‘Adaptability should be a key strategy for progressive #accounting firms – seeing what’s coming up on the horizon’ says @edkless on the Accounting Influencers Podcast #accountancy #accountex #advisory #accountinginsight

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Ed is a contributor to industry publications, including the Journal of Accountancy, Harvard Business Review and, and has spoken at many conferences worldwide on project management, pricing, and knowledge workers. He is also active in the Information Technology Alliance (ITA) and was named to Accounting Today’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting for 2019. He lives north of Dallas with his wife and two children and ran for Texas State Senate in 2010 and 2012 as a Libertarian. Ed’s blog is at and you can contact Ed directly:

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