Simply Tax Episodes 104 & 105: Leading Change from the CFO’s Desk – Live!

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Managing change and driving innovation have rapidly become top priorities for financial executives; however, it’s often difficult to keep up with the fast pace of change and fit these challenging tasks into an already packed to-do list. Join host Damien Martin and change and project management specialists John Gamble and Gary Farrar for an informative discussion on leading change in any organization. This episode was taped in front of a live audience at Financial Executives International Chicago on February 27, 2020, and covers strategic perspectives on change management, plus an inside look at BKD’s internal innovation efforts. Here’s what’s covered:

Part I – Episode 104

  • "Change is all around us, some that’s in our control and some that’s not" @ 4:37
  • Perspectives on change management from the AICPA @ 6:58
  • It can be overwhelming @ 9:44
  • External drivers of change @ 11:01
  • Two basic questions you need to ask to be relevant and successful in a future that looks different than today @ 14:43
  • Two basic disciplines @ 17:13
  • The process of successful personal change @ 22:40
  • The psychology of going through change @ 29:12
  • What’s a project? @ 31:28
  • Characteristics of a good project manager @ 35:26
  • What should you do if you don’t have a project manager on the team @ 39:37
  • Is project management still relevant? @ 42:52
  • The triple constraints that define any project @ 45:49
  • How do you instill passion to your team to get behind a project? @ 48:13
  • Why do 70 percent of projects fail? @50:53
  • How to engage passive listeners on the team @ 52:17
  • Tips for being a project manager by default @ 56:48
  • Portfolio management for project management @ 57:54

Part II – Episode 105:

  • Collaboration in a remote environment @ 1:54
  • Working with resistors as a new person on the team @ 3:49
  • Tips for approaching cost reduction projects and post-merger integrations @ 6:09
  • Innovation is a slice of change management @ 7:27
  • The horizons and types of innovation @ 10:27
  • How BKD is approaching innovation @ 12:56
  • Failing fast and other concepts from the lean start up world @ 18:37
  • A client story of BKD innovation @ 24:49
  • Score carding as a type of incremental innovation @ 27:53
  • Innovation for organizations other than professional services firms @ 28:35
  • Key action items for CFOs @ 31:58
  • Managing profitability and innovation @ 36:38
  • Tips for family-owned and closely held businesses @ 40:47
  • Key takeaways @ 44:13


Gary Farrar has more than 40 years of experience and has held executive positions at major financial institutions, technology companies, and professional services firms. He has led large initiatives such as enterprise-wide software implementations, organizational transformations, and real estate projects. Before retiring from BKD in 2019, Gary created and led an innovation program and project management office. He speaks regularly to a variety of organizations, including both small and Fortune 100 companies, and has a passion for educating future leaders on project and change management. Gary also is an adjunct professional at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.

Gary earned B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Louisiana Tech University. He is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. He has held the Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute since 2000, and he is certified in the Prosci change management methodology.

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John Gamble has approximately 20 years of experience in accounting and finance roles, including serving as an audit partner in a public accounting firm followed by four years as a CFO in the financial services industry. He has chaired the Missouri Society of CPAs and presently serves as a council member for the AICPA.

John has worked in the firm’s National Office in Springfield since joining BKD in 2018, and has led firmwide efforts to introduce new products and services to meet clients’ present and future needs. His primary focus is on innovation and change leadership as the profession seeks to address an unprecedented pace of change brought on by the rapidly expanding use of technology and new skillsets required to meet the demands of the global marketplace.

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