Tech skills 'as important' as accountancy for tomorrow's CAs
The majority of accountants in the UK consider skills in technology to be just as important as accounting acumen, according to new research.
A survey of 1000 UK accountants, carried out by Censuswide for online accounting software company Xero, found that 83% believe that understanding technology will be as relevant as traditional accounting skills in the future.
71% expect proficient knowledge of technology and automation to be crucial to the finance sector in the next five years and 22% feel that failure to adapt will result in falling behind competition.
The results also show that a significant number of accountants think business management (48%), risk analysis (43%) and computer science (24%) skills will be instrumental to success by the year 2026.
Censuswide also surveyed 1000 UK small business owners, a third of whom cite ‘technology competency’ as the skill they consider most important in a business advisor.
Accountants are regarded as the most trusted advisors by 30% of those surveyed while 27% said they have asked their accountant for broader business advice.
The future of consulting is expected to undergo dramatic change, with only 42% of small business owners predicting a need for face-to-face interaction with their accountants, and 16% expecting to interact purely through accounting software.
60% of accounting professionals are confident they can adapt to change but less than half (48%) report taking internal courses and just a quarter (26%) said they have completed external courses to ensure they are proficient with new technology.
Gary Turner, Xero’s UK managing director comments: “As we head into a prolonged period of technological change in the next five years it's encouraging that many accountants see being tech savvy as a key survival skill.
"However, the survey also suggests that the profession needs to work harder on investing sufficient time in keeping abreast of emerging technologies, and in more effectively persuading SMBs that a close working relationship with a financial professional will be important in years to come.”
ICAS recently launched a new initiative to promote the immense value CAs bring to a business, with a focus on the SME sector.
‘Make sure your adviser is a Chartered Accountant' aims to raise the public profile of CAs as business advisers, asking ‘why would you trust anyone else with your business'?