October is Technology & Innovation Month at the VSCPA! All month long, we're celebrating our members who push their employers forward in terms of technology and process improvement. Today, we're speaking with Adam Chaikin, CPA, president and CEO of Thought2Execution, an accounting, project management and software implementation company in Vienna.
VSCPA: What’s your role in your organization? How did you elect to focus on the intersection of accounting and technology?
AC: I own a small consultancy in Northern Virginia that focuses on ERP implementations. I am technology agnostic as the skills required to implement an ERP are transferable between Oracle, SAP, NetSuite, etc. I am currently supporting three clients that use NetSuite.
Shortly after I left public accounting in 1995, I worked for an organization that was moving from a homegrown application to a new ERP system. I was the assistant controller at the time but diverted a lot of my attention to the project. I was reluctant at first but was quickly vested in the project. When the project was completed I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and saw the benefits to the staff using the new system. It was rewarding — and more so than the day-to-day management of the ledgers and the close process. When I joined another company, I feel into a similar situation. I was very senior in the finance function but asked to oversee the systems project I did it again, this time on a larger project with greater risk. I felt an even greater sense of reward. From that point, I knew the path I wanted my career to take. I was a finance systems guy. It is in my DNA.
VSCPA: What’s the greatest technological threat CPAs face? What’s the greatest opportunity?
AC: The greatest technological threat that CPAs face is the pace of change. CPAs must remain ever vigilant in their training. While our CPE requirements are a challenge for us, they represent the bare minimum that we need to be competitive in this field. I try to stay sharp by consuming new and relevant information whenever I can. I attend user conferences, read journals, search out lunch and learn sessions, engage with my peers to discuss and ultimately try to master what is “new.” I also try to be relevant about my industry experience by keeping pace with accounting and finance issues. Clients want to work with consultants that understand the problems and risks that they face each day. They want to stay ahead as well.
The greatest opportunity that CPA’s face today is in blockchain. Blockchain represents a complete revolution on how we think about the timeliness and accuracy of information. The use of a public, distributed, secure ledger of transactions will completely alter the way we function as CPAs, and the value proposition that we have for our clients. We will transform our value from getting the numbers right to providing valuable insight into what the numbers tell us — a goal that we have had for decades.
VSCPA: What role can CPAs play in helping clients with their technology needs?
AC: From my vantage point, which is biased towards technology, we will be able to help with requirements analysis, fit-gap analysis, software package selection, systems deployment, integration, change management and end-user support.
VSCPA: What’s your favorite piece of technology you currently use at work? In your personal life?
AC: I am currently very enthusiastic about the NetSuite ERP platform and the tools that have been developed in the NetSuite ecosystem. My clients are getting value from Avalara’s Avatax software, Concur for expense reimbursement and Avidxchnage for payments.
I recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy S9 which has great power and the form factor I need to manage my consulting practice. I am carrying a Dell Latitude which has great speed and battery life. My favorite app continues to be Roboform, which I use for password management across my devices.