For a long time, the popular perception of accountants has been that they’re number-crunching, bean-counting robots – there to perform a function and undertake a task, not to provide insights or counsel to the business. Their duties are process-based: they review, rather than analyse; they compute rather than contemplate; and because of these tendencies, they are essentially interchangeable.
This perception isn’t accurate: a qualified, experienced, strategically-minded accountant can be a great asset to a business. But the true purpose of their
role was long ago buried beneath repetitive, transactional work.
Although businesses still need highly qualified finance talent, workplace automation is changing traditional roles. According to industry research, "the development of intelligent automated accounting systems" was identified as the top issue set to impact accountancy over the next three to 10 years.
While core technical finance skills and ethics will remain critical, accountants will need to combine these skills with creativity, leadership, communication skills and emotional intelligence.
Research from Xero demonstrates that some 42% of Australian accountants think they’ll need management consultancy skills to be successful by 2025. Additionally 35% think the same of business management skills, and 28% believe they should act as strategists for growth. In their minds, their role should be far more dynamic than it presently is.
The research lists several skills that are expected to decline in importance within the next three years due to workplace automation. They include manual calculation and tax filing for income, inheritance, employment and sales, as well as routine back-office work. Compliance reporting is also expected to become more automated through technology and analytical tools.
Although these may seem like core accountancy functions, it definitely doesn’t mean there is no longer a role for accountants. It’s simply that number-crunching alone won’t be enough, as workplace automation can take care of most of that. While core technical finance skills and ethics will remain critical, accountants will need to combine these skills with creativity, leadership, communication skills and emotional intelligence.
A focus on advisory and value-add services for clients
Prosperity currently has opportunity for experienced, qualified accountants to join their teams in Sydney and Brisbane; as leaders in the industry of cloud based accountancy and automation, we are looking for people with a true management accountant ethos who can bring an advisory and value-add focus to our client needs.
Let our team tell you what it's like to work for Prosperity.