How will the role of an accountant evolve in the future?

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With incredibly rapid advancements in technology – particularly AI – seen over the past few months, many industries are starting to wonder what the future will hold. We’ve been wondering recently too: how will the role of an accountant evolve in the future?

Changing skill sets for accountants, such as an increased need for technological knowledge and quicker adaption of new accounting software and tools, are becoming more necessary. But what else is causing our role to evolve?

Technology continues to transform the accounting sector

Digital technologies, like automation and artificial intelligence, are becoming increasingly prevalent, thanks to applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s BARD.

Repetitive accounting tasks previously performed by humans are now being automated, allowing accounting firms to spend more time on high value tasks. Meanwhile, for in-house accounting, the application of this tech can help streamline business operations and improve efficiency.

For example, bookkeeping, data entry and routine calculations are all being automated, freeing up accountants to spend more time analysing data and providing strategic advice to their clients.

AI tools can analyse large datasets, identify patterns and provide insights that can help accountants make informed decisions. This is particularly useful for businesses that collect large amounts of data, but just don’t have the resources to analyse it effectively.

Additionally, AI tools can help accountants identify potential fraud, errors, or anomalies in financial statements, allowing businesses to take corrective action before it’s too late.

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The use of data analytics grows

Data analytics in the accounting sector is becoming increasingly important, as businesses collect and analyse more data than ever before.

Analysing and interpreting data are crucial skills for accountants, allowing us to identify the trends and patterns that can provide deeper insight and help businesses make informed decisions. Pairing data analytics with accounting skills will make accountants even more skilled in analysing financial information, in turn providing higher levels of support to our clients.

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Regulatory changes will continue

The AI boom has started a number of important debates around AI, ethics and morality, and perhaps most importantly, regulation. So it stands to reason that as we continue to use the growing options in technology, regulatory compliance will become increasingly important too.

Accountants already play a crucial role in ensuring that businesses comply with existing regulations by providing advice, preparing reports and supporting with tax compliance and audit preparations. Specialising in areas like regulatory compliance and reporting will likely grow in demand.

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Shifting client expectations

Client expectations in the accounting sector are shifting, with businesses looking for more customised services and greater flexibility from their accountants. In turn, accountants will need to be more adaptable and responsive to client needs, and to tailor their services to each client’s unique requirements.

Utilising technologies such as cloud-based accounting for those who choose to outsource their accounting services or knowing how to integrate and automate workflows across platforms like Xero are already in-demand skills that enable us to provide even better service to clients.

The future of accounting is bright

While our sector might be experiencing significant changes due to all the things mentioned above, it’d be hard not to recognise the exciting opportunities available for accountants and finance professionals, or those considering moving into the industry.

If your not-for-profit organisation is wondering about the best accounting set up, contact our team of expert accountants today. We’re across the latest in skills and accounting expertise, and would love to help you!