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3 Things CPAs Can Learn from The Squid Game

Written By Indrajeet Pradhan

3 Things CPAs Can Learn from The Squid Game

The tax season is finally over. Accounting firms and CPAs are now breathing a sigh of relief and congratulating themselves on a job well done. As a CPA, you might or might not have had a chance to watch The Squid Game, the Korean Netflix series that people are going gaga over. If you have seen it, you have either loved it or hated it, and there is no middle ground here. If you haven’t seen it, it’s time that you binged on it.

When I watched the Squid Game (here’s a secret, I watched it twice), I realized there are some life lessons in the series for all of us. Also, there are some learnings to be had for CPAs as well. Life’s one big learning process, isn’t it, and it so happens that you can learn (and unlearn) from some of these viral OTT series’ as well.

Read on to know some “dark” advice on offer for CPAs in The Squid Game:

1. Red Light, Green Light – Adapt Quickly

This is the first game, and the audience and participant introduction to The Squid Game. When the latter see the giant doll, the considerable open ground, and hear the game’s instructions, they go in the ‘you gotta be kiddin’ me’ zone. When the first shots are fired, and they see losing participants being picked off one by one with automatic sniper fire, most are shocked (and so is the audience). But, it’s those that figure out the lay of the land and the fact that, if they don’t move fast and finish the game before time runs out, who survive.

So what’s the learning here for CPAs – Adapt quickly. There might be thousands of reasons why your firm might not be adapting to a changing scenario – The New Normal, for instance. But, waiting might just put your firm on the back foot while others get a head start.

2. Honeycomb – You Must Innovate

This was one of the simpler yet more exciting games in the series. Participants were allotted a shape stamped into a candy (the shape they selected) and had to cut it out perfectly. The participants that were unable to do so were killed. What’s the learning here, apart from ‘attention to detail’ and having the skills to cut a shape out of the candy perfectly?

Learning comes from the lead character who has to cut an umbrella (a complicated shape, by any stretch of the imagination) but does that perfectly. When he first sees his dripping sweat melting the candy, he hits upon an innovative idea. He does not break portions of the candy but licks them.

Learning? Move from the traditional to the innovative (read: contemporary); your firm must look for creative ways to approach a problem. Doing the same things and expecting different results is not going to cut it for you.

3. Tug of War

No explanation necessary and a game where no one gave a chance to the lead protagonists to win this one. But they did, and they won using brain over brawn. So what’s the learning for an accounting firm?

Accounting firms are competing with each other as they are more or less eyeing the same share of target clients. So, it’s the small firms competing against the medium-sized firms and the latter competing against the big-ticket firms.

How do you win against the more prominent players? This can happen only if you adopt a fearless and strategic approach towards exploring new avenues to grow and going one up over the competition. Think of solutions from a strategic perspective. E.g., accounting outsourcing is a fantastic solution to scale quickly and build capacity. However, this needs to be done strategically. The vision must be long-term.


There were other games in The Squid Game and again offered plenty of insights into the human psyche and how this can be good learning for accounting firms. Tell you what. If this blog gets readers, we can tackle The Squid Game again.

Also, be fearless, be strategic, and build capacity quickly. Contact Us for a Free Trial Offer.

3 Things CPAs Can Learn from The Squid Game

ABOUT Indrajeet Pradhan

My name is Indrajeet Pradhan and I am the Marketing Manager for QX Accounting Services – North America, and wordsmith behind the QXAS blog. Hope you enjoyed reading this piece. My job is to help accountants access the knowledge they seek through blogs, guides, and other content assets that are meaningful and actionable. More Posts(27)  

Originally published Oct 29, 2021 08:10:03, updated October 29 2021

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