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What Will Your Dash Say About You?

By Joey Havens

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I was floored and saddened to discover recently that a CPA friend and peer had suddenly passed at the young age of 51. Such a tragic loss. It brought back to me the importance of our dash.

The dash represents our time in this life—our legacy and how we impact others’ lives.  One day, it will be our turn to exit this life and we will leave behind our dash. What will our dash say? Today matters!

Although I was not a close personal friend to this CPA, we had shared clients as friendly competitors, exchanged small talk and visited socially in the past at various civic events. Just last year, to my surprise and delight, he reached out to me to discuss the AICPA white paper on Becoming the Firm of the Future.

We had a delightful and engaging conversation on the profession and its future. He was in the process of gathering information for his firm and had been asked to help facilitate some aspects of their strategic planning. He expressed his concern for the lack of urgency in his firm for change and we visited on ideas where he could help create more awareness—and thus a greater sense of urgency in the partner group. 

His second biggest challenge was addressing how they could remain relevant considering the quick transformation of public accounting, war for talent, culture issues and clients demanding a higher level of service.  We both agreed that we had not seen a rate of change like this in our professional careers—which spans over 30 years.

Over the next few weeks, we exchanged some emails and information as he moved forward with his strategic planning project. Later, he sent me a nice note concerning one of my blogs and how it had challenged him to think differently on an issue. It’s those notes, calls, emails and texts that make sharing these blogs worth it. I know that my purpose in life is to help others see and realize their #FullPotential.   

Today, I realized I never heard from him on how the strategic planning went with his firm. But I’m confident based on his questions, insights and passion to make a difference that his firm is a little better today. He had a deep desire to continue to grow personally and a vision on how he and his firm could remain relevant in the future. I hope as they reflect on his service, his commitment and even some of the challenges he brought to light, they see his dash as leaving them better.

We never know when our last moment will come, but we can impact what our dash says today.