How has the accountancy profession evolved over the years?
Accountancy as a profession has evolved a lot since the first accounting records were found dating back to over seven thousand years ago in Mesopotamia. The profession is not limited to tallying columns of financial data on paper anymore—the modern accountant can act as a financial manager, economic policy maker or even a marketing manager.
According to Nike Founder, Phil Knight, accountants are the best candidates for any product development role owing to their competence in predicting trends based on current financial data. However, the job descriptions in the accountancy domain have radically changed over the years as a result of emerging technologies in accounting.
If you are interested in an accountancy career or want to know more about how technology has changed accounting, this article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the evolution of accounting.
The role of technology in accounting
Although, the basic principles of accounting have more or less remained the same, the technology used to support accountancy has drastically improved over the past decade. New technology used in accounting has provided the industry with new avenues to explore, helped innovate different products and services whilst also allowing accountants to take on new responsibilities.
Owing to the automation of calculations, accountants no longer have to pour over spreadsheets for hours to ensure that the processed figures are correct—they can instead shift their focus to interpreting the results to make reasonably accurate predictions or help business managers formulate profitable policies. Thus, advancements in accounting technology have brought more accuracy, meticulousness and thoroughness to the profession.
How can the new technology in accounting revolutionise the profession in the future?
The rise of technology in accounting industry has brought an aspect of creativity to the role of an accountant. Now, accountants are less focused on bringing financial transparency and more on overhauling the organisation’s financial frameworks. Here are some ways in which technology is changing the face of the accounting world.
With mobile accounting, you can do a bigger part of your job including sending invoices or creating expense claims from your phone. This can free up a lot of your time which you can dedicate to honing your interpretation and predictive skills and help your organisation grow financially.
Cloud-based accounting is especially important for small businesses where every minute is important for the growth of the company. This technology can help accountants save their clients’ money and time by streamlining many accounting processes.
Rules and regulations in the current age
With incidents of massive data breaches and financial fraud becoming more frequent, there is also a trend of more stringent regulations in the accountancy domain. One famous example was the Tesco scandal in 2014 in the UK. The renowned supermarket retail chain had overstated its profits by £263 million—these irregularities were spotted only when Deloitte were brought in to conduct an independent survey.
The Tesco scandal brought in a change of focus in the industry from increasing profits to long-term business gains and increased investments in customer relationships. Incidents like these have also prompted governments across the world to tighten regulations in a bid to create more transparency.
Skill sets required for accountants in today’s age
You need an entirely different set of skills to become an accountant in today’s world compared to those you would have needed a few decades back. Modern accounting jobs involve more financial analysis and managerial operations. Today, accountants are increasingly involved in direct interaction with clients, decision making and strategy-making.
Currently, accountancy also involves key areas of business forecasting, taxation, compliance, financial management and customer support. Hence, you will need excellent interpersonal skills, business management skills, marketing skills and data visualisation skills to excel at your job as an accountant, in addition to being good with financial figures.
An easy way to gain these skills is to obtain an accountancy certification alongside a business management qualification. London School of Business and Finance offers a Global MBA combined with their ACCA programmes to help you obtain two qualifications and pick up essential accounting and business management skills.