The Science of Change Management | Gary Boomer
About Gary Boomer
L. Gary Boomer is the Visionary & Strategist of Boomer Consulting, Inc., an organization that provides consulting services and peer communities to leading accounting firms. BCI’s vision is to make you more successful and future ready. The areas of focus are: Planning, People and Processes with technology as the accelerator.
Gary is recognized in the accounting profession as the leading authority on technology and firm management. For over 15 years, he has been named by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. Boomer Consulting, Inc. is also a member of Inside Public Accounting’s 10 Most Recommended Consultants.
He consults and speaks around the globe on management and technology related topics including strategic and technology planning, compensation, change management and developing a training / learning culture. He acts as a planning facilitator, provides coaching and serves on various advisory boards.
He is a member of the AICPA Council and chair of the AICPA Life Insurance Disability Plans Committee. He is a past president of the Kansas Society of CPAs and a member of the accounting advisory board at Kansas State University. He is also a member of The Advisory Board, a group of leading consultants to the accounting profession who produce the Winning is Everything Conference. He is the past chairman of the AICPA’s Information Technology Executive Committee and has also served on the AICPA’s Horizons Vision Committee, Academic and Career Development Executive Committee and the ACUTE Board of Directors.
Gary is the creator of The Boomer Technology Circles™, a community that helps firms bridge the gap between technology and practice management and accelerate their progress through thought leadership and peer accountability. Gary is also the founder of the CIO Advantage, a community that prepares technology professionals for a seat at the management table by developing their business and IT acumen. He is the author of multiple books and a contributor to The Boomer Advantage Guides on:
Human Capital Attraction and Retention
Training and Learning
Selection of a Managing Partner
Risk Management in the Digital World
Pricing for Value
Guide to Increased Profits and Cash Flow
Gary is the author of “Boomer’s Blueprint”, a regular column in Accounting Today and publishes the Boomer Bulletin™, a newsletter with worldwide circulation. He also contributes to Think-Plan-GrowTM, Boomer Consulting’s popular blog. In addition to consulting with hundreds of accounting firms, he has consulted with IBM, Microsoft, Intuit, Wolders Kluwer, sage, XCM, Expensify and Thomson Reuters on the design and marketing of accounting related software and continues to consult with many industry technology providers to better serve the needs of the CPA profession and their clients.
L. Gary Boomer specializes in assessing rapidly changing circumstances while devising practical solutions. While he is willing to conduct some form of trial-and-error, he makes careful calculations to ensure the best possible outcomes. Gary is a highly capable communicator with a gift for taking complex matters and conveying them in a way that makes sense to a general audience. He is committed to maintaining pre-determined processes but is also a highly functioning improviser. He possesses a powerful, imaginative vision that carries him and his team to ever new and exciting possibilities.
Gary Boomer is a visionary leader who innately sees possibilities instead of road blocks. He is committed to the principles of teamwork and is willing to collaborate with individuals who may have very different working styles. Gary is highly intuitive and capable of getting to the heart of difficult issues while creating consensus. He gives deference to those around him and does not neglect to show loyalty to those who have earned it.
Mr. Boomer received his BS and MS degrees in accounting from Kansas State University. He and his wife Mary have three children, Jeff, Jim and Katie.
Welcome back. I’m here today with Gary Boomer. Gary is the founder of Boomer consulting, one of the top consulting firms in the United States for the accounting profession, as well, as Gary has been listed for a number of years is one of the top 100 influential accountants in the United States. So Gary, welcome to the Dave show.
Well, thank you, Alan. It’s a pleasure to be here.
So okay, for for the audience, can you give background history, what brought you up to where you are today?
Sure, I’d be happy to. And a little bit, this goes back to where I was born. And the fact that I was raised on a farm, I think a lot of those values and principles, and the work ethic that I have today really go back to my parents, and the fact that I was born in a rural area. I’m from Kansas, I have four brothers and one sister. And I like to say I work probably harder from the age 15 to 20, than I have the rest of my life. But I’m also a twin, and I have a twin brother, that’s a veterinarian. And so when we went to school, people ask, Well, how’d you get interested in accounting, and I said, Well, he was at one end of the alphabet with veterinarian, so I said, I’m going to be at the other end. So I picked accounting as a major. And then I said, That’s a great platform, to use my entrepreneurial skills. So today, we have a company that primarily works with the largest 500 firms in the US, and some in Europe and Canada. And we focus on making them or helping them continue their success and sustaining that, as well as being future ready. So it’s kind of a balance between firm management and technology.
You know, in the, in today’s world, we’re in a river of technology flow. And, and and you need to always be at the forefront of, you know, looking where the future is going at the profession. And and what do you see that today?
Well, it’s changing much more rapidly than it has in the past. Plus, the accounting profession is getting disrupted just like any other small business with automation. And it’s automation of all types of things that accountants used to get paid for, for example, ndarray of transactions, not just preparation of tax returns and compliance, but taking that data they have access, and using it to predict what’s going to happen the future, using data mining, and regression analysis, things like that. In order for us to remain relevant, we really have to provide different services than we have in the past.
Now, I guess the other the flip side of is the accounting profession, although the world is changing quickly, they tend to be the late adopters.
Yes, and even with technology, and I didn’t have a lot of training in technology, my education was really in economics and accounting. I have a major in accounting, Master’s Degree in Accounting, but I also have a minor in economics. And I actually learned more from the economic side. And just as I was graduating, technology was getting big in the accounting profession. So I said, I have to know something about this. So I took a class in Fortran programming. And I tell people that knowing Fortran is like knowing Spanish but being sent to Munich, absolutely worthless. But it did teach me about how technology works, how data flows, logic analysis, and I think that’s been a real advantage for me in my career.
When, when a person’s thinking about a career in accounting today, what advice would you give them and how to best prepare.
I think it’s a great platform. Because to be innovative, you have to have some hindsight. And we get a lot of that and accounting of the data in the transaction that’s already occurred. The second thing is insight, what’s that really mean from a performance? And then from the foresight of, how’s this going to impact you three, five years from today and your clients? And so I think accounting is a great platform for that. But don’t limit yourself just to the, what’s happened in the past.
You know, I guess looking at the past is not a good predictor of the future of it. Yeah, we see the change in technology that is so rapidly happen. You have a lot of automation and in there seems to be a shift from what used to be a manual process. Service is now moving and being replaced with technology. you’d read a book on the three P’s of people process and procedures.
Yeah, it’s actually people planning and processes. And I think those are the formula for success of any small business today. Technology is the accelerator. And the goal is to grow your business. So how do you plan? How do you employ the right talent? And how do you make your processes as efficient as process possible.
Gary, I need to take a quick break. But when we get back, I like to go into these three P’s, the process, the planning, and the procedures, okay, and we’ll be right back after these messages.
Welcome back and visit here today with Gary Boomer, he’s been listed as one of the top the county consultants in the profession, as well as the founder of Boomer consulting Gary, in the first segment, we left off with talking about the three P’s of business with the process, the planning, and the people. And I like to spend a little bit of time in that that area, in the approach of how that all impacts is scaling of companies and businesses and getting everyone on the same page.
Absolutely. And this applies not only to accounting firms, it applies to their clients. Because if you think about it, accounting firms are small businesses, most are under 50 million in revenue. Course we have some that are in the billions, the big four, and then we the top 100, firms breaks at about 35 36 million. So it’s a very large industry that is comprised of a lot of small businesses. And when I got into consulting, I was really coming in from the management and the technology side. But I said there has to be something more here. And what is it? What are those skills and everyone says, you know, it’s a people business or a talent, you have to have talent development. So HR is very important. And not just the attraction retention, the development of those people. Then second, if you don’t have a plan, and know where you’re going, it’s it’s tough to get people to chase that vision. And they really have to buy into the vision in a small business. So that’s a leadership issue. And then finally, if your processes aren’t efficient, it’s going to be difficult to compete. So the people times the planning times the process is generally the formula for success and most small businesses.
On American Dreams will often work with the entrepreneurs who are out setting to try and solve, you know, and most of the time, the successful ones, it wasn’t about the money, but it was right, solving a problem or solving an issue. You know, and part of that, in when they’re trying to solve the problem or the issue and scale a company is getting everybody on the same page. When you’re working with companies and emphasizing these three P’s, how do you how do you get everyone aligned under a different vision?
Well, that’s one of the real challenges of a small business, and why they often bring in the person from the outside. Because it’s more obvious when you’re outside the business looking at it, after you’ve interviewed and talked to the key players, what they’re really trying to accomplish. And if they can’t communicate that effectively, effectively to their employees, and to their customers, and do it fairly succinctly and concisely, then they probably aren’t going to be successful. We determine success, generally by profitability. But that’s a result. And that’s why they buy scoreboards and athletics and that’s really the scoreboard we go by, in business world.
So in the is there a starting point, you would advise companies when they’re trying to get everyone aligned with the vision that you know some type of approach or process to kind of get the mindset outlined of who’s on the team?
Well Initially, we said the strategic planning process and when most people hear that, they think about hours and hours of work and documents that people will put in a drawer and probably never refer to again. And I’ve had some experience working with some of the larger athletic departments in the country. And there you have coaches and, and people in administration, that don’t want to spend a lot of time in the planning process. But they’re used to doing game plans. So we based our plans on a one page game plan, much like athletic teams do. And therefore you get people on the same page with the same objectives and get it down on paper. If you don’t eat it. After you think it, it generally doesn’t happen.
You know, when you’re looking at, when you’re looking at driving the vision, oftentimes, people are going to come with different levels of commitment. Yes. How does accountability play into execution?
Well, if you define your vision, and the results are different for the vision you’re trying to go after, then accountability is the quickest way to get to that new vision. And there’s a great book out there, change the culture, change the game. And it’s about how everyone has experiences in their life. And most of those experiences drive your belief system. And once your belief system is there, then that determines your actions in your actions to determine results. So you can’t just start at the top of the food chain and say, you’re going to change your actions and have that stick for a long time.
Now, Gary, I’m running short against the break here. But when we get back, I’d like to jump into the Lean Six Sigma model, which you’re often using with companies today. Sure, man, busy here today with Gary Boomer, he’s the founder of Boomer consulting. We’ll be right back after these messages.
Welcome back in business interview with Gary Boomer and founded zoomconsulting. Gary before the break, we’re talking about the three P’s the planning process and the people and, and how that plays into business. And, and and now the name of the game changer is getting companies into more of a Lean Six Sigma model. And for the audience here, what is Lean Six Sigma?
Well, Lean Six Sigma is really two things. Lean is how you drive efficiency out of your processes. And six sigma is how you attain quality and reduce the errors in your processes. And you try to drive those airs out at the lowest cost. Not in accounting, one of the things that we have are reviews at the high level and surely a partner review will if we can drive those airs out in the process, so that by the time the work gets to the partner, it reduces their time. And we’re much more efficient. And we shorten the cycle time. And by cycle time, we’re talking about how long it takes to complete an operation. So if you’re doing a tax return for a client, if you can get that in and out the door, in a short period of time, the client is going to be happier, and you’re going to be more efficient and more profitable. So that’s really the principle behind it. I first learned about it when I went to India looking at outsourcing. I knew about it and manufacturing from my background in accounting, but I had never seen it really applied in the accounting industry. So over the past 1015 years has become very popular.
Now change management’s never easy within the organization. And what’s the quickest way to get people to change?
Well, I don’t know that there’s any quick way. But normally you have to inspire them with a vision. And I think one of the best ways to do that is think 10 times. So it’s about your thinking as much as anything. So if I think I’m a company of 10 million, what would I do if I were a company of 100 million? And the answers come much easier when you think about 10 times then they do about 10%. And you can even say, Well, I know we’re not going to be 10 times, but the answers are still the same, even if you’re only growing 10%. So it’s that thought process. And it’s tricking the mind into thinking bigger, that really helps small businesses get to what their objectives are.
So there’s, there’s, there’s the mindset that the natural instinct, some people are saying, Hey, I’m okay, changing. I’m a futurist, and others are like, No way. How do you reconcile those two, you know, the people that resist the change the people that want to go?
Well, people are motivated differently, as you know. And so I say, if you’re going to remain successful, or become successful and future ready, then you have to probably look at your mindset, your skill set, and your tool sets. And oftentimes people want to focus on the tools, the technology out there, but they don’t want to change the processes. Or even more common is, I know, we need to change. But Alan, you’re the one that’s going to have to change, I’m going to stay the same. And that just doesn’t work, we have to be open to change. And the companies that do the best with this seem to be based on the leader who says it’s okay to change. And we’ll make some mistakes, but we have confidence in our people, our plan and our processes, that if we make a mistake, we’re going to fix it and we’re going to get to a next level.
Is there is there a crossover point with the size of organization, which the processes will then replace the entrepreneur and drive a company to a larger level?
Well, I think the entrepreneur is still the one responsible for setting the vision and communicating that vision. But the reason the processes are so important is you can’t scale the business without the process, an individual, if they’re not willing to collaborate and be a member of a team, it’s going to be difficult for them to scale their business, the rugged individualist will only get you to a certain level.
So size wise, you know, is it 10,000,015 25 is a you know, when is it? You know, because obviously, the the vision can be cast. But you know, I once had a guest on here, partner, Bain and Company, he says, These as I like to work with companies from five to 15 billion on strategy, because because if I get bigger than 15 billion is kind of hard to get the organization to change. You know, I’m not, I’m not talking at that level. But at some point in time, there has to be where the processes are so imperative, in order for you to continue to scale that it you know, they do not place the company’s not gonna go anywhere.
Well, I think that’s absolutely true, you have to define your target clients, where your solutions have the greatest impact, so that you’ll both be successful. And we’ve done that in the accounting industry. You know, there’s 45,000, CPA firms, the US, our target markets, the top 500 firms, when you look at it, and those perspective, that’s a pretty small market. But that firm that’s in we use the rule of fives, which are really firms over 5 million firms that are in the top 500. Those are all good prospective clients, because they have enough organization and resources. And they’re willing to hire someone from the outside and come in and help them with that analysis. The other thing that we learned is that peer communities are very important today. And we like that, because as consultants, you can be on the road all the time. So how do we get the peers to share their information, and you really have to do that on a national lot, not a local basis. So we have peer communities that are focused on anything from technology to managing partners of the firm, to HR directors, CIOs, and they meet together in groups of 2025 people, and we can bring in access to expertise that they wouldn’t have as individuals. So I think that that’s a very important part of what we do, not only the consulting, but the communities, and then the learning. I believe in lifelong learning, I always have. I like to say that who you’ll be in five years is determined by the books you read and the people you meet. And I didn’t think that at a younger age, but now I know that’s true.
So Gary, individuals that would like to contact you what’s the best way?
Well, one of the best ways to learn more about us is to Go to boomer.com I was fortunate to have a pretty good last name. It’s easy to remember. And the other thing is, my name is LG email@example.com. So don’t hesitate to go to our website or send me an email and I’ll certainly respond to you.
Been visiting here today with Gary Boomer. He is the founder of Boomer consulting Gary, thanks for being here today.
We hope you enjoyed this interview; “The Science of Change Management | Gary Boomer”.
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This transcript was generated by software and may not accurately reflect exactly what was said.
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Alan L. Olsen, CPA, Wikipedia Bio
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