Transformation from being an Accountant to Business Advisor is the result of Technology. So start using technology and transform yourself from Accountant to Business Advisor. Technology is rapidly changing and like its impact on other walks of life, it has totally changed the perception and processes of the accounting profession as well. Accounting is one of the prestigious professions around the world. It is considered the backbone for the success of a business. Big organizations hire qualified accountants to oversee financial matters. Like other departments in an organization, Finance and Accounts is a separate department and is headed by Chief Financial Officer. Many strategic decisions of the corporation are approved and implemented with the consent of CFO.
International Accountancy Bodies
Accountancy is so important that almost every country has its own local accountancy body that is responsible for making policies and rules as per local laws and regulations. Companies are liable to prepare financial reports according to the standards set by local accountancy bodies. Some of the major accountancy bodies around the world are:
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
- Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP)
- Institute of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI)
- Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA)
- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
Impact of Technology
Like other fields, Technology has significantly impacted the accounting profession as well. Gone are the days, when the accountant’s table was full of documents. If you are an accountant, you do a hundred and thousands of complex calculations in no time. Now you get real-time reports to assess your client’s financial health. All accounting processes and procedures are done automatically by using different accounting software. Different companies use different software according to their own need. Big companies use ERP system which is very expensive, but it gives the flexibility to tailor accounting transactions according to their own requirements.
Transformation from being an Accountant to Business Advisor
Technology has totally shifted the role of Accountant to Business Advisor. Accounting software programs are being more automated. We have seen a shift from traditional accounting to dynamic accounting due to technological advancement. However, this shift of role has put a bit of pressure on the Accountant to enhance skill sets, being critical thinkers, and use professional skepticism and judgment in making decisions. Firms now also consider these soft skills when hiring new recruits in their firms.
However, these 5 technological factors have played a vital role in the accounting profession shift.
Artificial Intelligence & Robotics
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics has helped companies to bring efficiency in their operations. Automation has helped to do repetitive tasks with extreme accuracy and has reduced operating costs as well. In a report, Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change, published by Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA):
“Although an agent intelligent enough to replicate the human brain is not yet a reality, there are many examples that can demonstrate limited ‘intelligence’, depending on how this is defined. Intelligent behavior can include learning from experience, determining what is important, handling complex situations, understanding visual images, being creative or imaginative, and other characteristics”.
With cloud computing, Accountants no more required to store data on their system. Everything is shared and stored through cloud computing. They can access shared computer resources and data on demand. This has enabled Accountants to work from anywhere and deliver financial reports of their clients any time through the cloud. This has given Accountants extra time to focus on more strategical issues with their clients instead of burdening themselves with complex processes.
Advanced Tax Software
This is the most sensitive issue in accounting. Neither accountant nor their clients want to pay more tax or penalties due to late filing of their returns or presenting misleading information. Advanced tax software has enabled accountants to file accurate file returns on time. It helps to streamline audits by making them efficient and effective. Reymond Cheng, who is a Council Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants states that “An understanding of new accounting software and other business and finance will be necessary if practicing accountants are to effectively conduct audits and discharge their responsibilities. Continuing professional development and education in this area will be necessary for auditors.”
Engage with your Clients with Mobile Accounting
Mobile Accounting has become more important with the widespread use of smartphones. Accountants use this technology to better monitor and run their business by engaging with clients through mobiles which give their clients flexibility to get in touch with them instantly without waiting to have a face to face meeting. Xero is playing a significant role in launching mobile accounting age. Now firms can send invoices, receipts, reconcile account balances, and create expense claims through their smartphones. According to Bill Price, CFO at the accounts payable and payment automation company MineralTree said, “ Mobile accounting could mean different things to different people and businesses, so the first step in a successful rollout is defining what it means to you and your company. For example, who the users will be and what they will be using it for. Think about the different functions you’d want your mobile accounting and financial solution to cover”.
Social Media: A Marketing Platform
Social media provides firms and companies to engage with their current and potential clients more easily than before. They use it as a marketing tool to show the world their offers and services. Still, many firms follow traditional marketing strategy, however, integrating social media platforms into their marketing campaign helps them on a long term basis. According to experts, a firm’s overall development strategy should have social media marketing. Consistently doing social media marketing amplifies all other marketing and business development efforts.
It has become important for accountants to embrace all these technological changes if they want to remain in the competition. They must keep themselves with up to date technology, ready to accept and learn advance technology, optimize and adapt current accounting software to meet the needs of the firm.