A new breed of accountant is emerging. Molded by digital technology and new regulations, these new-generation financial professionals are carving out a place for themselves as strategic business advisors to their companies or clients.
Rather than focusing on the numbers, this new generation is focusing on relationships and understanding the client’s business. It’s about repackaging accounting services as a business solution and using the latest technology to drive efficiency. What’s behind this trend? Two major forces: higher levels of automation through technology and changing client expectations.
Each technological advance, from the first desktop accounting solution to today’s powerful cloud-based solutions, has enabled accountants to get more work done in less time and gain better visibility into finances. But the technology revolution is still in full swing. Trends such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, internet of things (IoT) and blockchain will have a powerful impact on the accounting profession as lower-level services and tasks continue to be automated and delegated to technology.
Automation for accountants
In our global Practice of Now report, 49% of accountants said they would like to automate number-crunching, data entry, e-mail and diary management; 66% planned to invest in AI to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Accountants are eager to elevate the automation of mundane tasks, so they have more time to spend on the things that really matter.
When it comes to the second trend, the world of work is changing dramatically due to the mix of generations in the office – from baby boomers to generations X, Y and Z – the way businesses are using technology and new modes of collaboration. New expectations are coming to the fore as clients and businesses look to accountants to add strategic value.
Keeping up requires a shift in the traditional culture and mindset of a finance department or accounting practice that will take time and senior-level support to implement.
Here are key considerations for building customer relationships and future-proofing your role as an accountant in the business:
- Be client-centric
- New skills are needed
- Build trust
- Tailored solutions
- Deliver essential services
- Harness technology
Frequent and rapid change is the new normal for accountants. Those that keep pace with technology and market changes, while focusing on strengthening client relationships and experiences, will excel. The accountant of the future will innovate, embrace technology and deliver best-in-class service, becoming an essential business partner in the process.