Adaptability and open-mindedness are key traits required in the era of cloud accounting, saysSimon Wright, operations director of CareersinAudit.com.
There is no doubt that the advent of remote working made possible by the cloud has transformed the business world – this, in turn, has seen the role of the accountant evolve into so much more than simply a numbers person.
Cloud accounting has created an online network of apps and software that bridge the gap between accounting firms and their clients so as to streamline processes, payments, compliance and more.
So, what does that mean for the accountants of the future? Do the same skills and expectations apply? The answer is yes but there is undoubtedly more room for those non-traditional candidates that extended their academic experiences beyond exams and textbooks. Employers are looking for professionals eager for new challenges and opportunities to learn, those who are open-minded and happy to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape, and of course, those so fluent with the language of numeracy that they can easily interpret, understand and communicate its meaning to others.
That adaptability to change is paramount in this new generation of accountants, as the cloud and mobile computing takes the place of desktop software and back room servers. The conversion to a more flexible business operation translates to a shift in how organisations structure their employment needs, with more freelance and contractor opportunities surfacing on the market to meet demand for a more technologically attuned workforce.
Possessing an all-round skillset in accounting is no longer a condition for most companies, who want accounting specialists at their financial helm to protect them in the face of more rigid compliance and stringent regulatory requirements.
As automation and globalisation become the key drivers in modern day business, accounting firms will look to those individuals who are effective communicators, proficient in IT, strategically minded and committed to ongoing learning in order to further their professional development. Plus, those who have taken the time to become well-versed in international standards and regulations will elevate themselves in the eyes of hiring managers, looking for accounting and finance professionals capable of keeping the organisation within the parameters of expected governance.
Collaborating across the world’s accounting and bookkeeping stage to bring the knowledge of advisor, consultant and compliance specialist to clients in real time; the notion of accountancy is one which must encompass the ability to deliver strategic advice within the realm of understanding and handling of automated data capture and advanced analytical tools.
The future of accounting is extending away from the confines of dinosaur desktops as businesses recognise the need to have a global network in play and expand their customer base internationally. Accounting professionals who can implement that via real-time information and customer service afforded by mobile marketing and online tools, including the many apps available on the cloud, will be in highest demand.
Acknowledging the value added that you bring as a business advisor as well as an accountant, both to your firm and client roster, is how successful accountants of the future need to be assessing their own worth. Think beyond that hourly rate and more to what you as a commodity can deliver.