The New Age of Accounting
Change has always been a constant in the accounting industry, from the days of calculators to the advent of the personal computer and Excel spreadsheets. But today is different: The pace of change is accelerating, and the tools and technologies available today are not simply advancing accounting but revolutionizing it.
There are tremendous opportunities in this new age of accounting. Accountants who keep adapting and learning can use the latest innovations, from machine learning to automation, to accomplish more in less time and benefit their organizations in previously unheard-of ways.
More Data, Deeper Insights
Many of the advancements in the digital era revolve around data—gaining visibility into more data, analyzing it quickly, and visualizing it in more insightful ways. Implementing the latest data analytics tools, including artificial intelligence (AI), can provide a significant competitive advantage by increasing productivity and improving decision-making.
AI may still sound like a new-age idea to some, but it has already been implemented successfully by leading accounting firms. Its applications will no doubt increase in the years to come, but already AI is being used to digest and analyze large volumes of data at speeds humans simply can’t match. That accelerates and expands data analysis, and it frees employees to shift from manual data entry and basic analyses to higher-level strategic planning and other mission-critical work.
In addition to AI, accountants can benefit from advances such as cloud-based accounting systems that streamline information and provide secure access, anytime and anywhere, to workers and clients. Integrated cloud-based systems can provide significant cost benefits compared to expensive on-site solutions, as well as accelerating decision-making and providing improved visibility into data from across the organization.
Next-Gen Accounting Skills
To take full advantage of the new age of accounting, accountants need to develop and focus on a new set of technical capabilities, as well as honing some old-fashioned skills.
First and foremost among the new digital skill requirements is the ability to understand and work with big data using the latest software and features. With masses of business-wide data now being analyzed in minutes, accountants need to be able to quickly assimilate all that information, interpret findings and trends, and make informed recommendations to the executive team.
At the same time that digital literacy requirements are increasing, some old-school skills are becoming increasingly valuable. In particular, modern accountants need to be highly skilled at both verbal and written communication to express complex concepts clearly and convincingly. The ability to collaborate, both in person and digitally, is also vital as the accounting team becomes more involved in making strategic business decisions.
Prepare for the Future
Accountants in today’s fast-paced digital world need to stay up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies. To be sure, that can be a challenging task given how quickly innovations are emerging. But, as with many other advances in today’s world, adapting to these innovations is not a choice but a necessity. Embracing the revolutionary changes underway right now is the only way to future-proof your organization and help it become more competitive and productive, both now and into the future.