March 6, 2015

Up-End the Playing Field

Up-End the Playing Field

This past Friday was a holiday of sorts for many, as the Underwoods returned to Netflix and more than 700,000 fans got caught up with their favorite scoundrels. Whether you are a fan of House of Cards or Arrested Development is more your speed, both are examples of off-network successes, produced by Netflix and designed to supplant and revolutionize the way we consume television content.

Way back when, if you wanted to watch your favorite TV show, you walked over to the console (okay, you clicked the remote), turned on your set at the appointed time and toughed out the commercials to catch a glimpse of coming scenes from next week’s episode. Other than that, you were going to have to wait a whole week to see what happened next, or even a whole year in the case of seasonal movies, like The Ten Commandments. How times have changed! Now, between DVRs and streaming-content providers, not only don’t you have to suffer through the ads, you can watch the latest installment on your own schedule and on a multitude of devices. Or better yet, you can binge-watch an entire season in a single day or a weekend if you choose.

While fewer than a million viewers is a small fraction of the Nielsen audience for network and cable television, it’s significant enough to get mainstream producers sweating. Undeniably, there is a shift underway. Need some evidence? Most of the conventional networks now have their own apps or digital solutions for on-demand viewing of their content.

So what’s the point? The point is, any Industry that fails to recognize when the standard operating procedure is no longer standard will not survive. Paradigm change is not forgiving of foot draggers. Eastman Kodak, for example, once the world’s biggest manufacturer of photographic equipment, and incidentally, the inventor of the digital camera, bet against the digital revolution and is now no more. To stay viable and profitable, companies have to be open to change and able to adapt.

No one is immune, including the accounting industry, including Marcum. None of us can afford to stand still, doing things the same way we’ve always done them just because it’s always worked that way. The best leadership and the best companies stay one step ahead. They think bigger, work smarter and prepare for the inevitability of change in the future.

You’ve heard me say before that the wheel can always be rounder. That ceaseless pursuit of “better” is our mission and our obligation to our clients and to our professional team, if we are to continue being the valued and trusted partners that our clients rely on.

What will the Netflix of professional accounting be? Only time will tell. But we’re looking for it and we’re ready. Don’t settle for competing on the playing field built and owned by the industry giants. Build a better one, and they will come.

P.S. Restaurant travails follow up. Yesterday it snowed all day in NYC, 6+ inches by some accounts and a plane sliding off the runway at LaGuardia, fortunately no serious injuries. So Tracy and I figured that there would be many restaurant cancellations, particularly at the hardest place to get into in the world, Ralph Lauren’s new Polo Club. But alas, after calling at 5pm, 6:30pm and 8pm we were assured by the lovely person answering the phone there was indeed not a single cancellation, not one, they were fully committed and it seems “people were out enjoying the snowy NYC weather.” Come on, really, not one cancellation? So after we put the kids to bed we did try the NYC outpost of Zuma and I’m sad to report that Zuma joins the ranks of Upland in my book as someplace not worth the hype or the wait. I’m hoping that if I ever get into the Polo Club it doesn’t turn out the same way.