How futuristic thinking can help your business succeed

Explore the future of business in our Q&A with the innovators behind Kedge. Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer also share a sneak peek at their keynote for the 2016 Conference for Audit Committees.

Yvette Montero Salvatico and Frank Spencer are the principal owners at Kedge, a strategic consulting firm that empowers organizations to adopt futuristic thinking and seize opportunities for growth.

They will both be speaking at the 2016 Conference for Audit Committees, delivering a keynote on digital trends and how to use futuristic thinking and strategic foresight to improve business performance for audit and assurance.

What’s your advice to auditors and accounting professionals who want to integrate more futuristic thinking into their work?

We think everyone in an organization should think like a futurist; it’s what helps create a progressive, forward-thinking culture in any business. The best advice we have if you want to incorporate more futuristic thinking into your work is to scan external environments for emerging trends, value shifts and implications.

A good place to begin is with the STEEP framework, which you can use to identify opportunities and threats from outside your industry. 

Auditors and accounting professionals can analyze that information to look for emerging patterns of change. This means evaluating what value shifts cause specific trends in business to emerge, the implications for your organization and how new ideas can drive innovation when they collide and converge in the real world.

After that, it’s time to pressure-test your existing strategies and determine if you will be successful operating in the future under different business conditions.

How can organizations better embrace the spirit of innovation? How does innovation impact long-term thinking in audit and assurance?

Managing the fiduciary oversight of organizations in the 21st century requires new approaches and mindsets. The fluidity of the global economy, digital disruption and the radical empowerment of individuals through mobile computing and micro-manufacturing have combined to create a challenging future landscape for audit and assurance.

A future-empowered approach allows auditors to see innovation outside the confines of competitive intelligence and industry-related benchmarking. Today’s transformative innovation must create the future by pulling it into the present.  

Accounting professionals often monitor trends, subscribe to research reports and maintain their own top 10 lists. But it’s important to go beyond that if you want to see what is changing, what is emerging and what’s possible.

How can auditors prepare themselves to successfully navigate new challenges and opportunities over the next five years? The next 25?

Rather than predicting the future, auditors and business leaders should focus on learning how to map the future, creating multiple scenarios based on today’s trends. These robust worlds will allow them to go beyond the confines of today and imagine new possibilities.  

Scenarios are not Excel-based “what-if” models, nor are they fanciful stories about the future. They’re rich and immersive narratives, informed by environmental scanning and analysis of key domains like culture, technology, economics, the environment and politics.

They allow auditors to ask, “What future do we fear the most?” and “What future do we want to create?” The more you explore multiple scenarios, the better equipped your organization and its leaders will be to deal with whatever future emerges.

The changing financial landscape is complex. How can innovation and futuristic thinking transform the audit process?

We live in an age of accelerating complexity. Our environment is much less predictable. It requires a new breed of thinker to deal with emerging issues and events.

This complexity also offers a broader, more expansive landscape to discover and solve long-standing problems in business, society, the economy, networking and collaboration. And auditors are in a unique position to transform their organizations by serving as navigators in a sea of change

Auditors should avoid linear thinking and challenge themselves to carefully consider trends across all domains, not just policy and technology – and pay close attention to shifts taking place both inside and outside their area of practice.   

What kind of ideas can CPAs look forward to exploring at your keynote address this December?

During our keynote, we’ll address three major patterns that are shaping the future of business and society: the creator economy, blurred reality and intentional evolution.

You can expect to explore details about these emerging trends and how to go beyond them in your work, using strategic foresight to take advantage of what’s next for audit and assurance.


Attend the 2016 Conference for Audit Committees from December 6-7, 2016 in Toronto to hear Salvatico and Spencer discuss more about how, with the right tools and resources, you and your organization can leverage a new world of business insights and opportunities.