The new age of enterprise computing has led to the adoption of cloud computing. The Accounting function, being central to organizations, is not immune to this evolution. The inevitable question of the accounting personnel’s value to an organization’ keeps arising following the replacement of some of the roles by systems. Could it be that accountants are no longer as valuable as they were ‘traditionally’?
While it is true that the data processing function can and will be entirely replaced by technology, technology adoption is not a threat and should be viewed and embraced as an unexplored opportunity to prospect new service lines in the accounting function.
The opportunities are however heavily dependent on organisational culture flexibility and individual learning attitude.
How Can Accountants Adapt?
The surest way for accountants to retain value is by mastering and harnessing new skills inclined to groom them as strategists in terms of business insights, performance monitoring, and decision making.
These would include skills such as Leadership, Data Analytics, Advanced Excel, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Regulatory Knowledge etc. This will strengthen accountants’ capacity to add more value to the organization and organizational clients in some cases.
The first step is to however onboard to cloud computing and familiarize with the use of accounting, operational, performance, and client relations software. Further, accountants will be required to have basic knowledge on solving or preventing problems such as data security issues that couple with embracing technology.
What are Some Current Opportunities for Accountants?
An accountant committed to career evolution may start taking up roles such as Financial Forecasts Advisory, Software Development Consultancy, Business Performance Consultancy, Business Processes Re-engineering Consultancy among others.
There are many opportunities for accountants in today’s job market, including both traditional roles in accounting and finance, as well as new and emerging areas. Some of these opportunities include:
In traditional accounting, accountants can work in a variety of roles, including financial analyst, auditor, tax accountant, and cost accountant. Financial analysts help organizations make informed decisions by providing insights into financial data and trends. Auditors ensure that financial statements are accurate and comply with regulations. Tax accountants help organizations understand and comply with tax laws, while cost accountants help organizations understand the costs associated with producing goods and services.
Corporate finance is a rapidly growing area for accountants, where they can work in roles such as financial planning and analysis, treasury, and risk management. Financial planners and analysts help organizations make informed decisions about their finances by providing insights into financial data and trends. Treasurers manage an organization’s cash and investments, while risk managers help organizations understand and manage financial risk.
Technology and Digital Transformation
The growth of technology has created new opportunities for accountants in areas such as automation, data analysis, and digital transformation. Accountants with skills in these areas can help organizations streamline processes, improve accuracy, and make better decisions. Automation has made many accounting tasks faster and more efficient, while data analysis has allowed organizations to gain deeper insights into their financial data. Digital transformation has allowed organizations to change the way they do business, and accountants play a key role in helping organizations navigate this transformation.
Management accountants play a crucial role in providing information to support decision making within organizations. They may work in roles such as budgeting, financial reporting, and strategic planning. Budgeting involves forecasting and planning an organization’s financial resources. Financial reporting involves preparing and communicating financial information to stakeholders, while strategic planning involves using financial information to make informed decisions about the future direction of the organization.
Government accountants can work in a variety of roles, including roles at the federal, state, and local level. These roles may include financial management, budget analysis, and auditing. Financial managers in the government sector help manage public funds, while budget analysts help ensure that government resources are used effectively. Auditors ensure that government organizations are following regulations and laws, and that taxpayer funds are being used appropriately.
Nonprofit organizations rely on the expertise of accountants to manage their finances and ensure they are operating in compliance with legal and ethical requirements. Accountants in the nonprofit sector help organizations understand and manage their finances, prepare and communicate financial information to stakeholders, and ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
Forensic accountants are called upon to investigate financial fraud and embezzlement, as well as to provide expert witness testimony in court. Forensic accountants use their knowledge of accounting and financial analysis to uncover financial irregularities, and their expertise is essential in legal proceedings related to financial crime.
Also Read: Internal Audit and Corporate Governance