Tech the most sought-after skill for the future accountant
11 Nov 2019
Sixty-one per cent of accountants and bookkeepers believe tech skills will be the most important competence for new hires in ten years’ time, a recent study from MYOB found. Interpersonal skills came in second at 54% and specific accounting software knowledge at 51%.
A survey of 523 Australian accountants and bookkeepers investigated the top requirements for the industry in the lead up to International Accountants Day 2019.
The research suggests that the future landscape of the industry is such an unknown that prioritising tech will increasingly relevant. Now the most important skills sought by those hiring are interpersonal skills (48%), followed by specific accounting software knowledge (45%) and tech skills (38%).
Compared to ten years ago, when the top skill sought was specific accounting software knowledge, the evolving landscape for accountants and bookkeepers is evident with a broader reliance on technology more generally.
“We know businesses benefit from using technology to automate tasks, save time and eliminate errors,” Blake Collins, MYOB’s GM of Partners said.
“Accountants and bookkeepers are increasingly required to be adept at finding the right solutions for their clients. This calls for strong tech skills alongside interpersonal skills, two elements not traditionally associated with accounting and bookkeeping professions.”
The research highlights the unique position accountants and bookkeepers are in as a trusted partner to business owners. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents say less than a quarter of their SME clients work with business advisors outside of accounting and bookkeeping, which explains why they may wear additional hats beyond their conventional offering.
The technology available to business owners goes beyond accounting software, with programs designed to forecast and report accurately and decrease time spent on compliance and administrative tasks.
“Accountants and bookkeepers have a great opportunity to introduce their clients to technology, with more than half of respondents saying that less than 25% of their SME clients use apps, add ons or product innovations to help them run their business,” Mr Collins said.
“Forty-four per cent said their SME clients don’t take advantage of technological innovations because they lack technical skills.”
“With 40% of accountants and bookkeepers still spending most of their day on compliance work, what we’re likely to see change is how that compliance work is managed. An increased reliance on technology tools and knowledge to get more of that done faster, for accountants and bookkeepers as well as their clients.”
Kyelie Baxter, Managing Partner, IQ Accountants
MYOB is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across three core segments – Clients and Partners (business solutions to SMEs and Advisers); Enterprise Solutions (larger businesses) and Payment Solutions. We also provide ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. We are committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through our Connected Practice Strategy and through the development of the MYOB Platform. For more information visit https://www.myob.com/au/ or follow @MYOB on Twitter.