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CPA Now
Sep 17, 2018

Free CPE Explores How to Manage Distractions and Think Through Tough Issues

By Maureen Renzi, vice president – communications


When I read “Deep Work in a Distracted World” by Jim Caruso in the summer 2018 issue of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal, it struck a chord with me. The column was inspired by the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, and explores the challenges of working on complicated issues while we are constantly interrupted by emails, instant messaging, and social media.

Worker on 3 electronic devices at the same time.The conflict between distraction and deep thought is going to be a greater issue for CPAs who are experiencing dramatic shifts in their occupational demands, which trend indicators say will require a higher level of thinking. To explore this, Jim and I put together a free OnDemand CPE program (Deep Work in a Distracted World) as part of PICPA’s membership benefits package.

It’s not an overstatement when I say that it frightened me when Jim referenced research indicating that we are training our brains to reduce our capacity to perform deep thoughts because of the frenetic pace at which we process information. If this is the case, how will our members succeed in the future? Because artificial intelligence is eliminating some of the more tedious accounting chores, CPAs will be expected to spend more time on a higher level of creative thinking: doing analysis, making business recommendations, and contributing to strategic development. If we are training our brains not to think deep thoughts, the traits needed for future success in the CPA profession will be depleted.

Jim has embraced the concept of deep work. In our discussion he explained what deep work is, how he accomplishes deep work, and how others can personally adopt these principles to propel their professional careers. We also discussed some options businesses should consider as we respond to the changing business environment.

It was a great conversation, and I know I have made some changes in my lifestyle and work habits as a result of our interview. I hope you order this CPE program, enjoy our discussion on deep work, and are inspired to start scheduling some time to employ the techniques discussed.

Being busy may be productive, but learning to do deep work will provide gateways to promotions.


Related reading from the summer 2018 issue of the Pennsylvania CPA Journal: “Accounting Automation: A Threat to CPAs or an Opportunity?”



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