COVID 19 Impact on Accountants
The Covid19 pandemic has transformed many aspects of society and business in Cardiff, throughout the UK and globally, most especially how and where we work from. Accountants have been central in the fight to survive this pandemic and as a result, their roles have transmuted. Additionally, we have witnessed the rapid integration of technology in business during and after the pandemic. All these factors have contributed to the demand for a specific set of accountancy skills that can help the business survive the effects of the lockdown. They are no longer just number crunchers but an integral part of decision-making in various sectors of the economy. Accountancy firms and employers prefer individuals with advanced skills in addition to their knowledge in accounting. Some of the accountancy skills that are most in-demand post-pandemic include:
Digital and Technical Awareness
Even long before the pandemic, technology and digital proficiency had become a fundamental part of the accounting profession. But the pandemic saw an acceleration in the adaptation of new technologies in businesses across various sectors. Digital awareness is therefore an added advantage to one’s accounting capabilities as most companies are looking for personnel that can help them keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of technology and technology platforms.
AI and Automation
The pandemic saw several businesses across various sectors lay off their employees or cut their wages. To make up for the reduced workforce, companies are opting for automation and machine learning skills. Several small tasks within organizations have been automated to allow the available personnel to focus on complex tasks that cannot be automated such as decision making. With the help of artificial intelligence and cloud technology, accountants are exempted from manual tasks such as data entry and have time to focus on complex matters. To be competent in the post-pandemic period, accountants need to acquaint themselves with as much automation software as possible. Automation not only saves time but also improves accuracy.
Data Analytics Skills
Data analysis plays a vital role in business decision-making which ensures the business stays resilient through unforeseeable circumstances. Effective data analysis can help stakeholders understand how much the pandemic has affected their business by looking at the various patterns in distribution and consumer behaviour. It can also help set informed goals and objectives for recovery and highlight how they can be attained. As companies revise their business strategies post-pandemic, data and analytics-focused accountants are in high demand. An accountant should be able to study a business’ KPIs and swiftly generate visible acumen for the stakeholders. Critical thinking can help one come up with useful inquiries that can help expand their understanding of the variables.
With technology, accounting is no longer about cracking numbers behind a desk. Accountants are now required to collaborate with various departments in the organization and other stakeholders and share with them insight on how to improve the business performance. Additionally, the working from home culture distorts the convenience of sharing ideas in the workplace created by physical office spaces. Therefore, employers will prefer an individual who understands the best way to establish contact with their colleagues and are ready to share knowledge and skills for better results. Understanding the various ways that can enhance cross-functional collaboration can help an accountant advise and validate financial decisions in the organization.
How to Develop Skills in Accountancy
Now that you know which accountancy skills are on-demand, let’s look at how one can develop their accountancy skills to be more marketable among accountancy firms and other potential employers. There are several ways to learn or improve a skill, they include:
School education is the primary path to becoming a competent accountant. There is a variety of accounting degree programs offered across academic institutions in the UK that can boost your accountancy skills. They include; Certificate in Accounting, Associate Degree in Accounting, Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Master’s Degree in Accounting, MBA in Accounting degree and lastly a Ph.D. in Accounting degree.
Technology is another avenue through which people can horn their accountancy skills. Technical know-how is an added advantage in the eyes of employers and therefore software skills are vital in accounting. By embracing technology, one can improve their accounting skills by learning the application of various accounting software programs. It is also advisable to be on the lookout for emerging productivity and collaboration technologies in the field of accounting.
You can also sharpen your accountancy skills by getting certified, employees prefer certified accountants to those who have no certification. Getting certified is a severe assessment process meant to evaluate your accounting skills. Different certifications have different requirements and they include; Forensic Accountant, Public Accountant (CPA) which is held by chartered accountants, Auditor, Information Technology Accountants and Fraud Examiner.
You can also acquire accountancy skills from hands-on experience. This is the improvement of skills by focusing on the skill you aim to improve while on the job. It involves volunteer work, taking up temporary assignments and part-time accounting jobs to learn.