President Christine Freeland’s December 2018 Message

A Message from the President, December 2018

Christine Z. Freeland, CPA, ABA, ARA, NSA President 2018-2019

As the President of NSA as well as a small business owner, I am big on staying on top of leadership trends and reading, reading, reading. Recently I had the opportunity to attend Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership seminar here in Phoenix. I attended thinking this would be current, relevant information for a business owner. I was more than surprised by the application to both my business and to my role as the NSA President.

The Theme was “Change is Coming. You Can’t Ignore It. Make It an Opportunity for Growth.” It so much relates to NSA where we are implementing a new strategic plan and have a new CEO for the first time in 17 years. It is relevant to my business as I get closer to retirement and think, do I have the kind of business that a younger person (probably a millennial) would want to buy.

Some key points that really jumped out at me were, market disruption is a way of life. You are either creating the wave, riding the wave or being crushed by the wave of the market disruption.

You will be crushed by the wave if you have overconfidence, you are so busy working in your business you don’t take time for strategic thought or you are protecting sacred cows. The “we’ve always done it this way” is never a good reason to do anything. Think about Sears and Kodak, both leaders of their industry in the past. They have both met with that slippery slope to irrelevance.

You can ride the wave by not being paralyzed by the need for perfection, getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks and stay curious about the future. Learn to see clues in the present that tell you of the future. Blockbuster had the opportunity to buy Netflix, but they passed. We all know how that story ended.

So, what does market disruption look like for us as accountants and tax professionals: QuickBooks, Xero, Turbo Tax, IFRS, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and so on. Some have made it easier (or appear easier) for small businesses to do their own accounting. TurboTax, FreeFile and other options make tax preparation affordable and a do it yourself job if you listen to their ads. Others are the way of the future and we are yet to see the total impact.

Now that we are disrupted what do we do? I wish I had a one size fits all answer, but I don’t. I do have a couple of suggestions. Step back and look at your business as if you were an outsider. Do your systems make sense considering today’s technologies and opportunities? Do I need to create a “boutique” firm with a strong specialty? Do I need to spend less timing doing hands on work and more time creating a strategy for the future?

NSA is looking ahead as we implement a new strategic plan and where that will take us. I hope you will take the time to ask, “Where am I going and how will I get there?” Just as plants grow by the care they receive, so do businesses.

Happy Holidays,


PS: Please let me know what you are doing in your business to create the wave at

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