What does the future of accountancy look like?
Accountancy is a respected profession with great salaries and lots of career prospects. But where is it heading in the years to come?
Accountancy is a great profession that gives you the chance to work in any number of industries around the world. But like other sectors it’s also caught in a state of flux, as regulations change and technology plays an ever bigger role. So what might the accountancy practice of the future look like?
Accountancy is going global
The number of accountancy firms is growing, and they’re becoming increasingly globalised. Not only will that mean that demand rises for accountancy professionals, but it will also encourage other businesses to expand to provide the same services.
According to Intuit’s 2013 Future of Accountancy Report, everyone from other finance companies to government agencies, software and internet services firms will offer more tax advisory and accounting services.
Accounting professionals will not only be going global but also will be diversifying their skillsets as the industry expands.
Technology makes accountancy easier
By far the biggest driver of change will be the advent of new technology that improves efficiency and engagement. More and more functions are likely to be automated as new software and processing power becomes available to handle it, which will mean that many of the bread and butter functions that make up much of an accountant’s role today could be done by computer.
A study from Oxford Martin School analysed labour market data and concluded that there is a 94 per cent chance that specific accountancy tasks might become automated in the coming two decades.
The accountancy profession is likely to evolve and the infusion of technology into day-to-day tasks promises to make accountants’ jobs much easier.
Consultancy roles come to the fore
In the future, accountants will spend less time on their current everyday tasks and more time offering advice and guidance on issues such as tax and regulatory compliance. This is especially likely as the trend towards regulation in the finance sector continues and governments work harder to combat profit-shifting and base erosion, as well as tax avoidance and evasion. Not only will this place an even bigger emphasis on specialist knowledge and skills, but it will mean accountants need to have a truly international mindset.
In a blog post, global process specialist at OpusCapita’s centre of process excellence Johanna Huuskonen said this would mean accountants having to develop different types of skills.
“Accountants of the future are expected to have different personal characteristics such as situational social sensitivity and improvisation skills in situations of emergency,” she explained.
Evolution of the traditional workplace
The way we work today is vastly different from the way we worked just 30 years ago, as the internet has made it easier than ever to communicate and businesses have gone truly global. That trend is set to continue, and a younger generation of professionals who have grown up with technology are more likely to request flexible hours, remote working and other developments that allow for a better work-life balance.
In an earlier blog post, we looked at how traditional offices could eventually disappear. Physical offices may even become less common, as accountancy practices become entirely cloud-based entities – allowing accountants to make the most of the exciting range of locations they can work in.
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