With the 10 year challenge rising to one of the trendiest challenges for the beginning of 2019, accounting has also come a long way since from being views as a bunch of people holding calculators to now business analysts and advisers.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the Asia-Pacific region has now accounted for 60 per cent of the world’s economic growth. Part of this is due to the rise in innovation in technologies creating enormous opportunities for finance professionals, data analysts and accountants.
Based on the World Economic Forum forecasts, the rapid growth of advanced technology could introduce 133 million new roles into the workplace within the next four years. Employers need to start preparing their firms now for jobs that don’t even currently exist if they want to stay relevant in the future for disruptive technologies.
What are disruptive technologies?
A disruptive technology is one that displaces and established technology, such as a ground-breaking product. In business, this often can mean that innovation of disruptive technologies can create new markets and completely new industries.
In the accounting and financial industry, the advancement of new disruptive technologies could possibly mean a brighter future for accountants and finance professionals. The latest technologies are now able to transform traditional auditing and accounting roles making them easier for accountants, however, this does not come without a learning curve.
As the future of disruptive technologies can possibly now even replace auditing and accounting roles, employees and accounting and finance firms will need to be able to hop on board to understand such technologies in order to be able to not only utilise them to their full advantage, but also transform finance and accountancy roles for the future.
It seems that the future of systems and software that will be introduced into the finance and accountancy markets will be primarily focussed in areas such as data analytics, blockchain, cloud computing, robotics process automation and artificial intelligence. This could be a great opportunity for accountancy and finance firms to provide a valuable and also potentially very lucrative service to their customer base and community.
An exciting example of what sort of disruptive technology will help your business is the possibility of developing an analytic routine where you can have a new customer dissected into a dashboard where it can help your management team make better and more timely decisions based on the client’s portfolio. This can, in turn, help the financial planners in the firm to understand where the client’s problems are and where they would require the most help. This platform can also run in the background to identify any potential audit-related issues such as unusual transactions and activities, as well as help auditors anticipate what can go wrong in organisations through predictive capabilities.
The importance for adopting such changes in the accounting and finance industry is to ensure that small and medium sized accounting firms can keep up with larger firms who have more funds to implement new and exciting technologies. With the help of such new disruptive technologies, it will ensure that talented staff can be retained at the firm rather than moving on to larger firms who have the budget for continuous innovation. This will also help attract new staff who may not want to necessarily work in large corporate environments but would like to keep up to date with recent market innovations, and furthermore, it can also help boost productivity within the team and firm.
So what will become trendy for 2019?
To start, a high demand of Artificial Intelligence and cloud based technologies are definitely two of the most popular and in demand for 2019. There is a growing belief that as artificial intelligence strips away some of the mundane accounting jobs, labour-intensive tasks such as tax preparation, payroll, audits and banking can become fully automated as early as 2020.
This would mean that accountants will need to expand their advisory roles and help clients make sense of these facts, figures and information that are gathered by artificial intelligence.
Does this mean that a pay rise will occur in the industry? Unfortunately no, unless you can bring unique assets and skills to the table. Accountants with niche skills may receive salary increases for their value but are unlikely to be enormous.
What does this mean for accounting roles??
In the past, management accountants would work in isolation, entering numbers and stats into spreadsheets, where in today’s society, the role is more centered around team work, and/or working in a unit or team.
Recruiters now advertise roles such as “business partners” and/or “analysts” rather than “management accountants” to distinguish the change in work structures.
The motivation behind this change, partially due to the change and development within society, is that companies are now looking for employees with solid accounting skills who can draw insights from the data they have and then communicated effectively to the business to create new potential opportunities.
Of course as with the growth in society, much of the changes in management accounting roles is also due to the changes in technology, in particular new softwares and disruptive technologies, as well as artificial intelligence. With this growth and introduction of new technologies however, management accountants will also be required to develop new skills around presentation, communication and leadership in order to meet the expectations of the redeveloped role.
Your modern management accountant in this day and age is no longer someone who is working quietly in isolation, punching numbers into a spreadsheet. Rather, the modern management accountant will now need to learn how to socialise and understand business and building rapport and relationships with clients and prospects. This serves as a great new additional asset to firms as their accountants are now able to contribute ideas from their work experience to help the company grow and address any areas in which they are lacking in.
Recruiters have picked up on these changes and responded accordingly to these transformations. While previously, recruiters may only require management accountants to have flawless accounting and data entry skills, nowadays, they will look for “business partners” or “analysts” that have up to date data, systems and IT skills, along with great communication and leadership skills.