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Tech-Savvy Accountants–A Rising Need

via BusinessMirror : There is no other way to go but digitalization, which is different from digitization. But digital transformation should never take place if the purpose is just for change’s sake. I am pretty sure most companies prepare for a progressive digital transformation to improve business and not just chasing technology.

In my opinion, accountants are not endangered by technology. In fact, they are now needed more than ever before. From being just “bean counters” in the past, their roles are evolving into more sophisticated functions aside from being “strategists.” But this is only possible if they are willing to develop their skillsets from manual to automated, for instance, or from obsolete process flows to workflow software, from paper to digitization, etc. Accountants should look for opportunities where they can add value to a digital change, with the confidence that the insights they provide are vital and maybe difficult to be replaced by mere machines.

In fact, their work becomes easier with technology. There is now an improved transparency and compliance with regulatory agencies’ requirements has never been more efficient with man-hours of work reduced. That is, if they know how to maximize technology to their advantage, rather than see it as a threat to their work.

The change in the organization to complete digitalization, however, should be a gradual process, not an abrupt one. You are inviting disaster by completely changing immediately, rather than having a progressive change. Besides, it is no joke in terms of financial investment on technology.

With the popularity and the effectiveness of cloud computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, process automation in transforming significantly the work in an organization and bringing productivity to a level far higher than it has ever been imagined before, this is the chance for the accountant to really stand out with the use of the right combination of skills. He should not merely rely on past knowledge and experiences, but should learn more outside of his comfort zone. He does not need to possess technology skills like a chief digital officer or like an information technology head, but an adequate knowledge of technology tools and applications where he can provide analysis and insights is enough to make him an indispensable part of the organization or an indispensable professional to his clients.

The accountant should not wait for the company to provide him the training, but seek out seminars and training that can develop his skills in technology.

The insights and experiences that an accountant has in the financial and accounting world can best combine if he is going to improve his knowledge and skills in technology.

This applies to all accountants, whether as a CFO or head of the accounting department, a CPA in public practice or even as a CEO.

Cloud computing, for instance, is driving down the cost of finance and accounting tasks, while, at the same time, providing big data for analysis purposes. If the accountant should champion the conversion to cloud computing, it is necessary that he himself is adept on its use and its benefits. If necessary, he should spend time outside of work hours to learn more about this so that he himself can train his people.

The IT person’s knowledge is limited to technicalities in computer and its tools, applications and software. But given the right training and experience in technology, an accountant’s knowledge in accounting and audit combined with adequate knowledge in information technology can make him the superstar in the firm and, if he is a CPA in public practice, an indispensable external auditor or consultant to a client.

If they do not shape up to learn more about technology, they better ship out because they will be left behind in the bandwagon of digital transformation. Consequently, accountants who do not shape up will ultimately become endangered species in the financial and
accounting world.

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