15 Aug The accountancy landscape is changing
The stereotype of accountants being number-loving, grey jacket-wearing, soft-spoken middle-aged men is fading fast. The sector is changing by moving with the times, and the next generation of accountants will be required to have a wider range of skills and abilities.
In the past, accountancy has been a sturdy profession: one not prone to change, alteration, or widespread upheaval. For hundreds of years, the role of the accountant has been to help people organise their money in an efficient way and, while that is still thoroughly woven into the accountancy fabric, there is now more to the job than just compliance.
Compliance, once the heart and soul of an accountant’s daily task list, is beginning to take something of a back seat. Instead, dishing out advice, assistance and guidance with regard to implementing strategy, and dictating processes is becoming the profession’s bread and butter. Computer software – Xero and Quickbooks, for example – can carry out many of the accountant’s traditional job roles, so professionals are being forced to seek new ways of making themselves invaluable.
In fact, even the term ‘accountant’ is dying out to a certain extent. Many financial specialists are now calling themselves business advisers or consultants to better reflect the tasks they carry out.
The accountant of tomorrow will need more than to be a whizz with numbers. They will need to be amiable, hands-on and technologically adept. The vocation is in a definite state of flux; a role primarily favoured by introverts is one that will soon be dominated by extroverts. Candidates will need to mirror the role’s advancements, or they will almost certainly be left behind.
Accountants will always be required to focus on saving individuals and companies money, but how they achieve that goal will continue to alter and evolve. Many university students are now studying additional modules when participating in further education; supplementary IT lessons, for example, are becoming increasingly popular.
Providing financial benefits to clients will always be the accountant’s priority, but the role is changing, and it is essential that the professionals accept and welcome those changes.