Professional Accountants must be Disruptive or be Disrupted
It is no longer a hearsay that robots are coming for many jobs that were once exclusively reserved for certain elite professionals. Accounting as a profession regrettably ranks high on the list of professions that is currently being hit by the continual advancement in technology- I don’t see this trend reversing.
Advancement in technology and the cost of acquiring these technologies are increasingly moving in opposite directions. Companies and businesses no longer need to break banks in order to acquire the latest business processes automation gadgets.
Machine learning is increasingly advancing while the cost of acquiring and deploying IT infrastructures continues to crash. Machines are now passing love lace test meaning that errors that are native to robotic processes are gradually becoming a thing of the past.
As an accountant, you must be disruptive or be disrupted. This article is written as yet another wake up call to those accounting and finance professionals that are still sleeping in their laurels.
Time is up!! Old fashioned CFOs
Old fashioned traditional CFOs are focused on detailed backward financial information which more often than not leads to decision makers taking obsolete decisions. Your time is up if you are still one of those old fashioned CFOs that have refused to evolve with time.
There is nothing wrong with being an experienced accountant working as a CFO. In fact, the more experience you have under your belt as a CFO the better. What is wrong however is when you refuse to equip yourself with required skills of the next generation finance professionals?
Old fashioned CFOs are ill-equipped to help companies properly navigate disruptive oceans that are created by advancement in business technologies. Business owners and decision makers no longer place premium on outdated detailed information in this information superhighway that modern businesses have to operate in. To be meaningful, information have to be timely, detailed, insightful and predictive – at least to a certain degree.
For the points made in the above paragraph to be achieved by accountants, accounting and finance professionals will have to equip themselves with relevant IT skills that helps position them as trusted, value adding business advisers.
I have never looked back in my quest for technology related knowledge ever since I qualified as a CISA. I have taken numerous courses ranging from Blockchain to artificial intelligence to data science. All these are in a bid to continually ensure that I always have something new to offer to both my employer and clients.
One thing I love in accounting and finance is that you can never lack something new to learn. I cringe whenever I see experienced accountants feeling relaxed and thinking that their hands-on experience and knowledge of IFRS alone will see them through this disruptive time that we now live in.
According to the observers, “Sometimes, it takes the proverbial slap in the face to come to our senses. Accountants may relax in cushy margins today, but their relaxed attitudes make them ripe for disruption tomorrow”. No serious minded professional accountant will wait for this kind of proverbial slap in order to do the long overdue needful.
For you to have what it takes to be disruptive as a professional accountant, below are some of my favourite things that accountants should keep themselves busy with learning:
- Machine learning
- Speech recognition and Artificial Intelligence
- Data manipulation and visualization
- Blockchain and distributed ledger
- Fintech entrepreneurial skills
- Compliance and laws
- Strategy and marketing
- Coding – especially using Python programming language and advanced excel skills like using vlookup to calculate PAYE
- Presentation and communication skills.
I hope you enjoyed this piece. Let’s keep the learning candle burning. Udemy, Udacity, Lynda, Alison, Coursera and Youtube are some powerful learning mediums that you can leverage upon to make your lifelong learning venture a fun filled exercise. You can read these order articles for more on soft skills of accountants previously published on this blog.