Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting Ron Baker, the co-founder of VeraSage Institute (and Accounting Hall of Fame inductee 🤩), on Episode 49 of The Woodard Report Podcast. As a leading thought leader in the accounting profession, Ron shared his insights on the future of our industry, discussing the role of technology, the importance of human connection, and his latest book, "Time's Up!"
Ron Baker's thoughts on artificial intelligence
During our conversation, we explored the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the accounting world. Ron sees AI as a tool that can enhance our profession rather than replace us. He believes that technology should be embraced and leveraged to provide better services and value to our clients. As Ron says,
"AI is going to put a premium on asking more beautiful questions. And that's what advisers are paid for. The world is run by questions, not answers. A beautiful question requires incredible thought. Socrates said, have the wisdom to question. Interacting with ChatGPT forces you to ask more beautiful questions, and that's a wonderful thing because that's something our profession has been lacking for a long time." -Ron Baker
However, he also emphasizes that the human connection is irreplaceable. I couldn't agree more; as I mentioned during our conversation,
"There's something about having a conversation with your client and being able to recognize the look in their eyes when they're saying something and knowing that's not really how they're feeling, and that's something that artificial intelligence won't ever replace." -Heather Satterley
The subscription-based business model in accounting
We also touched on the need for professionals to shift away from hourly billing and adopt a subscription-based business model. Ron's latest book, co-authored with Paul Dunn, is titled "Time's Up! A Guide to Subscriptions for the Modern Professional" and delves into this very topic. The book argues that moving away from hourly billing towards a subscription model can enhance customer satisfaction and allow professionals to focus on providing transformational services. You can find the book on Amazon.
Ron believes that embracing this new business model will finally put an end to the timesheet and billable hours approach, which I also find incredibly liberating. It's essential for professionals to shift their mindset and start seeing their work as valuable beyond the hours they put in. This focus on value and transformation will allow us to serve our clients better and enhance our roles within the industry.
Ron Baker at Scaling New Heights 2023
I'm excited to continue learning from Ron at the upcoming Scaling New Heights conference, where he'll be teaching several sessions, including two on the subscription pricing model, and participating in a live broadcast of "The Soul of Enterprise" podcast on the main stage with Ed Kless. I believe that understanding and embracing the changes in our profession is crucial for continued success, and I'm eager to share these insights with you all.
I hope you'll join me in listening to Episode 49 of The Woodard Report Podcast to hear more of our enlightening conversation with Ron Baker. His perspective on the future of the accounting profession is invaluable, and I'm confident that you'll find it both inspiring and informative.