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Financial Technology - how will it impact on my job?

3 Oct 2019
Lucy Nicoll

Digital technology has continued to impact on the world of accounting & finance. The use of cloud-based accounting software offered by companies such as Sage, Xero and Quickbooks, has led to flexibility levels never experienced before where accountants are no longer desk-bound and so see an increase in flexibility and remote working patterns. Additionally, simple but potentially time-consuming tasks such as capturing invoices and classifying transactions can be completed by automatic intelligence systems, allowing accountants to focus on complex advisory tasks and maintaining a ledger of all transactions becomes much easier with the rise of blockchain technology (ACCA, 2018).

How has the role of Accountant changed?

Using new software and solutions to manage the repetitive and mundane tasks efficiently allows accountants to focus on value-adding advisory services, collaborating with stakeholders and interpreting financial information. Therefore, we have already seen a change in demand for the softer skills in accounting roles and while numerical and reasoning skills and financial acumen are naturally a must, successful accountants are now expected to also have strong communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills. Moreover, there is a rising requirement for developing analysis and social media skills to allow for best stakeholder engagement. If accountants fail to meet these expectations and take ownership of their own professional development, they are at risk of losing business and becoming marginalised (ACCA, 2018).

How to keep up with all the changes?

Accounting students are already introduced to the new software during their training and they also receive encouragement and support in developing their relevant transferable skills. However, keeping up with new developments can be difficult for experienced accountants where they have historically worked differently. Companies offering new solutions, such as Xero, offer training and support in learning how to best use their software and naturally professional qualifying bodies, such as ACCA and ICAS, also offer a variety of online and day courses.

Open company culture

Organisations need to ensure their company culture is open and embraces learning strategy but importantly it is also down to individuals to show an active interest and commit to their own professional development. ACCA research findings suggest that understanding how to capture and assess new sources of value as well as offering different and problem-solving services will lead to long-term success.

Author

Lucy Nicoll
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