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5 Reasons to Diversify Your Accountancy Skillset

July 6, 2020

Did you know that 59% of small businesses don’t think they will need an accountant ten years from now?

As cutting-edge technologies continue to provide automated solutions to traditional accounting tasks, accountants must remain vigilant to the new world of work and develop their professional skill set. While robots don't necessarily threaten to steal the jobs of accountants, they're certainly positioned to change and enhance the role that accountants once might have performed.

Whether it’s developing your technical skills to support the implementation of new software or nurturing soft skills to offer clients a human touch that computers can’t replicate, diversifying your skillset is vital to stay ahead of the game in the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

Join us as we take a deep dive into how accountants can prepare themselves for the new world of work and explore five key skills to help you find your niche in an increasingly competitive industry.

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Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills Are Everything

While strong interpersonal skills have always been a fundamental requirement in the professional realm, the increased applications of automated systems in accounting means communication skills and personal delivery will become an extremely valuable commodity in the coming years.

Whether it’s knowing how to build rapport with clients or embracing a collaborative approach across your organisation, the new world of work will demand a whole new level of emotional maturity and interpersonal flare.

Crucially, with video conferencing and virtual collaboration platforms set to play an increasingly important role in modern accounting, honing your ability to establish and maintain professional relationships without face-to-face interactions is vital. Building a professional profile and growing your network takes an entirely new form in the digital age.

As powerful software applications continue to provide business with incredibly sophisticated data insights and accurate forecasting models, accountants must adapt their skillset to help clients make meaningful interpretations and translate findings into practical advice. While computers can go a long way to replace old-school accounting practices, humans are required to make holistic interpretations and spot potential errors.

So, how can accountants use data analytics to improve business processes and deliver a service that computers can’t?

The key to upskilling your analytical skills is to develop a solid understanding of the computational methods used by accounting systems. Instead of offering clients a surface-level interpretation of a data set, the best analysts will dig a layer deeper and process information in a way that might not be possible from an outsider’s perspective.

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Data Analytics Will Become Increasingly Important

This deeper understanding is also important to build trust with clients and provide them with complete confidence that you have the technical expertise to handle their data.

In a 2017 report on the value of data analytics for accountants, Associate Professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, Wendell Gilland, says:

“Accountants will be increasingly expected to add value to the business decision making within their organisations and for their clients. A strong facility with data analytics gives them the toolset to help strengthen their partnership with business leaders.”

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Developing Your Technical Skills Will Cement Customer Loyalty

One of the most valuable commodities for today’s accountancy firms is trust. While the rise of cutting-edge technologies presents businesses with alternative accounting methods, the reality of switching from a trusted firm of accountants to placing their hard-earned money into the hands of a computer is somewhat daunting.

Maintaining strong personal relationships with clients and diversifying your skill set so you can provide technical assistance to existing clients will help you establish long-lasting relationships that move with the times. Instead of holding up a guard to new technologies, the best accountants will support their clients and provide reassurance that you can deliver a smooth digital transformation.

As automated accounting systems provide fast and affordable solutions for many small businesses, accountants must expand their technical remit by developing a holistic knowledge of how businesses work.

Not only do modern accountants serve as qualified professionals to conduct technical tasks, but also as advisors, consultants and trusted experts to help organisations make informed decisions. Crucially, developing a comprehensive understanding of business processes will help you identify those all-important marginal gains that separate your client from the competition.

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A Holistic Understanding of Business Will Make You Indisposable

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Computers Can’t Compete on Creativity

One of the most exciting developments in the world of accounting is the increased weighting placed on creativity in the workplace. The #1 differentiating factor of humans over computers is our ability to think outside the box and implement innovative strategies to rethink the way things are done.

Accountants who can nurture their creative potential and apply off-the-wall thinking in a business context will continue to offer their clients value for years to come. Whether it’s conceiving a radical approach to restructure a business or throwing the accounting handbook out the window with cutting-edge innovations, creativity is the modern accountant’s secret weapon.

Embrace Change, Don’t Fight It.

As businesses adapt to the new world of work, it has never been so crucial for accountants to evolve, grow, and meet the demands of their clients. While it’s easy to defend your position and reject change, those who take the initiative to learn new skills and nurture desirable traits will reap the benefits of a blossoming industry.

Here at INAA, we believe in a collaborative approach to connect forward-thinking accountancy firms from across the globe and share the latest industry updates. Our increasingly globalised world means it’s more important than ever to establish common goals and embrace change as a united force for good.

Join today to learn more.