The Digital Accountant, produced by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ( ACCA ), surveyed more than 4,200 accountants globally. The report explores the digital challenges accountants face and how they can maximize opportunities by becoming a digital citizen.
Continuous learning and reacting to digital transformation investment could help accountants define their digital skills and ensure they are future-ready, a report has revealed.
In the report’s survey, respondents recorded a higher level of ability in the more traditional areas of spreadsheeting – 81% indicated an expert ability level. When asked about their understanding of enterprise resource planning solutions, 72% identified as experts.
However, just 20% of accountants believed they had expertise in emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Clive Webb, Senior Subject Manager- Business Management at ACCA and the report’s author, believes greater ambition with technology can help accountants be future-ready for digital challenges.
Mr Webb added that a digital skillset can help accountants address critical and at times unforeseen, issues facing businesses in the world today.
He said: ‘Being able to predict where market disruption is coming from is imperative, there is a fundamental need for accounting and finance professions to have a robust and comprehensive digital skillset. This must then be applied to help accountants and the businesses they support to address the issues of the day – namely ones such as the current global Coronavirus pandemic we are combatting.
‘Making best use of technology in times such as these is key. The report recognizes a gradual comfort zone has developed in accountancy in relation to technology. It is important to recognize the days of spreadsheets being the new technology for accountants are over.
‘The profession is comfortable with older digital technology such as spreadsheets, enterprise resource planning. Digital transformation is one of the key conversations across businesses at present. The amounts invested by organizations are significant; the benefits substantial.
‘Accountants must now have the capability to respond to digital challenges presented by the profession. This can be achieved by showing purpose, ambition and understanding technology such as blockchain and the use of coding.
‘Speaking the language of technology and appreciating how it can drive business models can benefit accountants significantly. This could be from spending just three minutes-a-day invested in continuous learning and identifying future opportunities on how to improve their understanding of technology.’
Mr Webb called on the accountancy profession to not rest on its laurels by ensuring it keeps pace with new and emerging technologies in the near future.
He continued: ‘The evolution of technology and the digital landscape will continue. The pace of change that we have seen in recent years may well be eclipsed by the operationalization of technologies such as 5G and hyper-automation.
‘The business model of today is likely to be far from the business models of five to ten years’ time. The integrated workplace of smart systems, smart cities, smart workplaces, and flexible working lives is becoming a reality.
‘Whatever role practitioners carry out in the accounting and finance profession, they can make a difference in this technological world. While digital skills are important, their trust and ethics are the crucial and unique lens of the accountancy profession.’
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability, and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance, and management.
ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.To Read the full text of the Report CLICK HERE