Old Dogs Can Teach New Tricks

And by “old dogs” I do mean “seasoned accounting veterans”. I just got home from the Midwest Accounting Show in Rosemont, IL, where I was honored (and a bit star struck) to have opportunity to eat some authentic Chicago deep dish with one of the most respected thought leaders in the industry, Dana “Rick” Richardson. Most people know Rick as the closer – it never fails that show managers put him on the schedule for the end of the day, and he comes in just like any good relief pitcher and gets them 1, 2, 3.

After holding the attention of 1,500 accountants for over an hour and a half at the end of a long day, Rick was gracious enough to join my XCM Teammates, Brian Austin from Avalara, along with Doug Sleeter, Jody Padar, and Jennifer Warawa, three nationally recognized accounting influencers, for a “FOX” (Friends of XCM) dinner at Gino’s East. I think it’s safe to say that nobody on that bus knew exactly what was in store for the evening. Unfortunately, none of us were able to see Rick speak an hour earlier – but it didn’t matter, we all got our own private session at the master’s feet.

We hadn’t even pulled into the Gino’s parking lot when my colleague, Beth Bruck, had resorted to making a “Rick List” on her iPhone of some of the technology devices Rick began to mention. As the conversation continued well into dinner (2 slices of pizza into dinner that is), that list kept growing. So did Rick’s audience, as he quickly added the third XCM blonde at the table, Jamie Soper. I couldn’t help but sit back in awe that here I was at a table with so many accounting greats – Jennifer, Doug, Jody, Brian – and Rick, who has been a rock-steady icon in the CPA world for longer than I’ve been alive, and might just be the most tech-savvy of us all. From being a Mac champion, to embracing the Cloud, to his love of productivity apps like Evernote…he proves more than anyone I’ve ever met that technology is not defined by age or by generation, but rather by willingness to think outside the box, and by a passion for achieving greatness.

As this year’s CPA Practice Advisor 40 Under 40 list hits the wire this week, I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a big thank you from those receiving that honor – after all, without folks like Rick, we’d have no footsteps in which to follow…

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24 (Scratch That, 40) Hours in My Shoes – My First Day at XCM

As I’m sure is the case with many road warriors like myself, I’m often asked the question “Where are you based?” My typical reply is “30,000 feet in the air”…I always get a chuckle from whoever asked. All in all, I have managed to outgrow some of my early career travel woes (maybe one day I will share the story of Webster, TX one June afternoon), but with as many frequent flier miles as I’ve been earning the past few years, days like I had last week are just bound to happen.

To anyone outside of work, my life on the road is exciting & glamorous “Wow, a week in Las Vegas – how fun!” Then I help explain that most of the events I attend could very well be held in Fargo (which, actually has happened), or Omaha and it would be exactly the same experience: airplane, taxi, hotel, conference room, trade-show food, late nights, early mornings, taxi, airplane.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE what I do, I just want to dispel the myth that Star Alliance Gold status isn’t earned with plenty of blood, sweat & tears. So I decided to share my journey last week from home (The OC) to my new home away from home, XCM Headquarters, in Braintree, Massachusetts, for my first day on the Job…

July 9th, 2012

6:27am PDT – Orange County, CA: Wide awake before my alarm…of course I didn’t sleep well last night, constantly waking up to grab my phone in a panic – convinced I had overslept and missed my flight. Since I’m up, I might as well check a few last minute “to-dos” off my list before my 8:45am flight. First stop: Javatinis, for my morning Iced Coffee fix. Thanks to the caffeine jolt, my morning went well and I’m at the airport in plenty of time (translation: left the house about an hour before my flight, prayed the whole way here that I would not hit traffic & would breeze through the new bizarre security line at SNA airport. It worked, barely.), absolutely thrilled to finally be en route to Boston to start this new chapter with XCM.

8:13am PDT – Orange County, CA: Flight #1 – Departing on time for Houston

But that’s about the end to my “normal” travel day…in a nutshell, here’s how the next 23 hours went:

1:34pm CDT – Somewhere over TX: “Houston, we have a problem” – flight is being diverted to Austin, Texas until Houston’s thunder storms subside

6:45pm CDT – Houston, TX: Finally arriving in Houston – only 6 hours behind schedule

7:55pm CDT – Houston, TX: Missed all flights to Boston for the evening, and I’ve just missed the last flight which would connect to a Boston red-eye…it’s going to be a LONG night!

10:00pm CDT – Houston, TX: Found a flight to Newark, NJ (after a mad dash, a near riot at the gate, a missing Drivers License scare, and an hour more delay on the ground). I’m finally heading a little closer to my first day in the office.

July 10, 2012

2:03am EDT – Newark, NJ: Made it to Newark with a whopping 4 hours before my flight to Boston

2:53am EDT – Newark, NJ: Arrive at the airport hotel & get a room for 2 hours – at least I can get some work done, shower, and change…isn’t this how everyone prepares for their first day?

6:00am EDT – Newark, NJ: Departing for Boston – one last flight

7:15am EDT – Boston, MA: Arrived early and I just ordered my “6 espresso shots over ice” which will have to power me for the next few hours. Next stop: 639 Granite Street!

8:00am EDT- Braintree, MA: (ok, I’m lying, it’s actually 8:06): As I pull up to the XCM/ Xpitax office, I suddenly don’t care that I’ve been up for the past 23 hours, or that I’ve only eaten a protein bar since yesterday’s breakfast, or that I have a full day of work ahead of me. I’m feeling a lot like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz as she opens the door into Oz – everything seems to go from black & white to color – wicked-good Orange to be exact!

July 11, 2012

1:27am – Quinsy, MA: I’m not at the Westin, but I assure you, never in my life have I seen a bed so heavenly. In the past 40 hours I’ve survived 4 flights, earned 3,000 United MileagePlus miles, spent an amazing first day in the office, and have been treated by my new team to a wonderful welcome dinner overlooking Boston at sunset. I think it’s safe to say that I earned my Road Warrior status today (well, yesterday really)…closing my eyes at last, good night!

New Beginnings…Same Shoes

I won’t lie. I basically hate change. No, I’m not talking about footwear – for those of you who know me, that may be the only thing in my life that I prefer changes daily (or even hourly). But when it comes to most things in my personal and especially in my professional life, I’m much more content when things are “normal”, “comfortable”, and “routine”. That’s right, I’m pretty boring after all. I can’t even count how many times my mom and I have had the same conversation whenever things change…thank goodness for moms! She always reminds me that things always turn out better in the end, and that there’s always something more exciting down the road – and, of course, I always shrug and agree that as usual, she’s right.

While there’s nothing really wrong with being comfortable with a routine or getting into a groove, the danger that lurks with letting too much time go by without new changes is that of complacency. It’s really easy to sit back and get comfortable with the security of “normal”. Sadly, it’s easy to miss amazing opportunities to challenge and grow.

With all that being said, every once in a while one of those opportunity comes along where the excitement outweighs the anxiety of change. Today marks one of those times for me with a huge change in my professional life – as I have just left Fujitsu for a new opportunity. Some might say that I’m “hanging up my ScanSnap hat” – but we all know that it isn’t my hats that get so much attention. Thats right, if ever an official Twitter handle funeral was in order, it would be about now.

So yes, I’m leaving @ScanSnapKim behind, and have picked up a Boston accent to go with my new identity, @XCMkim. But rest assured, I’m keeping my SoCal zip code and ALL of my shoes as I begin this new adventure of this wild (or should I say wicked?) ride. I’m so proud to announce today, that I’ve joined XCM Solutions, the premier provider of wicked-good workflow solutions to accounting firms, as Director of West Coast Operations.

Over the past several years I’ve had the privilege of trotting the globe (in 4″ heels) as an evangelist for the best scanners in the world – and I’ve had an absolute blast! So now as I take a step into this new chapter, I’m excited to know that I’ll continue to see and work with so many of my friends that I’ve been blessed to meet over the years. I decided that now is as good a time as ever to embark on this new adventure as well, with the launch of my own blog. I would never ask anyone to walk a mile in 4″ stilettos, but I do hope you’ll all follow along with me as I take this walk…I’ll give you a View From My Shoes.