A newly qualified ACCA accountant came to me last weekend and said “I am now a qualified accountant, what next?”
I told him I will get back to him shortly. But on second thought I said “put your-self in the driver’s seat of data driven economy”.
To be relevant as a qualified accountant in this data-driven economy that we now live in, finance and accounting professionals have to think like the Internet of Things (IoT) generation-ers.
The millennia and the IoT generation-ers expect instant gratification in all that they do. Similarly, qualified accountants should have the mindset of responding swiftly to the needs of their employers or clients.
Traditional technical post qualification experience is no longer enough for any serious minded qualified accountant. Qualified accountants should be acquiring experience and knowledge in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Strategy, Blockchain, Big data, Risk Governance, Change Management, Internet of Things, Cyber security and Cognitive computing.
To answer the question of ‘what next after qualification as an accountant?’, accountants have to at least be familiar with the theory of these buzzwords. I will spend the rest of this article briefly introducing the terms from the perspective of Accounting and Finance professionals.
- Artificial Intelligence: Accountants and other finance professionals should be interested in the area of AI that deals with business decision making. If Robot can pass love-lace test, why can’t they be able to make economically informed decisions?
- Strategy: Business owners now look up to their accountants as value adding business partners that they can easily go to for strategic insights. To be worth the paper that your certificate is printed on as a chartered accountant, you must be a go-to person as far as strategy is concerned.
- Blockchain: In a nutshell, blockchain is the platform upon which distributed ledger is built on. The next thing to start spending your spare time on learning is the rudiments of blockchain technology. It may take a while but the time will definitely come when all transactions will be routing through it. The banks are already shaking because of Bitcoin- you are warned.
- Big Data: billions if not trillions of data is generated in split seconds. This is largely due to the rate at which technology advance and the cost of acquiring them plummeting. Accounting has gone past the era of bean-counting. In today’s lingo, accountants are can be called finance-analytics because they are more into financial analytics that yields useful information for decision makers. Note that this is different from data processing as data processing is slow compared to big data analytics. Also note that big data is different from dirty-data. While big data helps to improve decision making, dirty data contains too much noise that does nothing but distract decision makers. Make sure you are spending your time learning big data analytics technique and not heavy or dirty data
- Risk Governance: accountants as an information processing professional is always turned to for information relating to risk governance. To be relevant as a new generation accountant, you must be versatile in risk governance and management.
- Cyber Security: The recent ransomeware popularly known as wannacry caused many business and personal upset. The most annoying part of it all is that most people that fell for this ransomeware are finance professionals. This goes a long way to depict the level of cyber security unawareness of accountants and other finance
- Change management: change they say is the only thing that is constant. As a qualified accountant, you must be ready to be a champion of change as your clients or employees don’t expect things to always remain the same.
- Internet of Things: the IoT generation almost always expect instant gratification. They are generation that have long lost patience when dealing with people. To be seen as a valued business partner, you have to be able to prove your worth by providing almost instant gratification to almost ALL business problems.
- Cognitive Computing: finance as a profession is no longer new in matters that concern cognitive computing and as such, accountants have no excuse to be.
- CyberSecurity: most fortune 500 companies are now insisting that their finance professionals are cybersecurity savvy. This was as a result of the fact that business technology recently grew a forth and probably most important leg- CyberSecurity.
Your learning just began after qualifying as an accountant. This is why most professional accountancy bodies like ACCA put premium on CPD. However, learning just anything might be too herculean. In this article, I have pointed out some of the skills that will ensure that you remain relevant as an accountant after you have qualified.
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