What is the future of Accounting?
For the foreseeable future there will be a need for compliance work to keep clients above board. I don’t see any threat to this line of business, however, clients do not engage an accountant simply to keep them out of trouble. Accountants are trusted advisers and clients turn to them for strategies to improve their business, find efficiencies and achieve sustainable growth. Accountants have an opportunity to broaden the scope of what advice they give. New technologies are continuously proliferating through the business community and the businesses that adopt these technologies tend to flourish.
The type of accountant I want to see in the future is a fusion between a tax accountant, management accountant, business adviser and project manager. This accountant will meet with her or his clients, identify inefficiencies in the business or opportunities that can be exploited and then hold the business owner accountable for executing on the plan they hatch. It may involve liaising with technology vendors and helping the business integrate new innovations into the business’s DNA. The advent of artificial intelligence will make the accountant more efficient, in turn freeing up time to allow a higher value of service to be delivered.
“The type of accountant I want to see in the future is a fusion between a tax accountant, management accountant, business adviser and project manager.”
The number of new technologies applicable to business is overwhelming, which is why it’s more important than ever for accountants to pick a niche. An accountant focusing on retail, for instance, may hear about IoT shelves that calculate the weight of the goods upon the shelf. When the weight drops below a certain threshold, it’s time to restock. The stock clerk then receives a report of exactly what items need to be restocked, their location and quantity. The accountant may perform an NPV calculation considering the purchase price of the shelves versus time and cost savings they bring and present that to the business owner. She or he may work on integrating the software that the shelves use with the inventory management and accounting systems so that COGS and stock levels are automatically entered, saving the bookkeeper time.
“The number of new technologies applicable to business is overwhelming, which is why it’s more important than ever for accountants to pick a niche.”
Accountants of the future will count more than numbers: they’ll count weight of stock on shelves, the number of times a pair of jeans was taken to the changing room before purchase, the postcodes of customers using a heat map to determine the next franchise location and so much more. Now, advising clients on artificial intelligence, the internet of things or cloud computing is not the role of the traditional accountant and short of hiring a data scientist or seasoned technologist it is hard to find reliable advice on any of these topics. This is however, an opportunity that will be taken by someone and for me, progressive accountants can fill that void.
“Accountants of the future will count more than numbers: they’ll count weight of stock on shelves..”
A lot has changed over history, but one thing remains the same: the profession will ultimately be shaped by the practitioners who embrace change and move with the market. At Accodex we aim believe the future of the accounting profession is in our hands. It’s summed up by a quote from the infamous business innovator, Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Written By: Patrick De Ruvo
Chief Technology Officer