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Technology Driven Accounting: How to Prepare Staff for a New Age in Accounting

How to Prepare Staff for a New Age in AccountingTechnology has no doubt changed the traditional way of doing things. Businesses and professionals are left with no choice but to adopt new technology to remain relevant in a changing environment.

However, the successful adoption of this new age in accounting can happen only if you prepare your staff in advance.

Why it’s Necessary to Prepare for the New Age Accounting

Technology offers many benefits; however, the constant rapid changes in technology create a major challenge to organizations and even to the professionals/employees. Some decide to stick with systems with which they are already proficient. Unfortunately, such a decision is not an option if you want to remain relevant in a changing accounting landscape.

Technological changes that have affected the accounting field can be attributed to technologies such as 5G, data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), computer-assisted auditing technologies (CAATS), blockchain, and cloud computing, among others.

These technologies are literally creating new roles in the accounting field. For instance, automation will take away some accounting jobs, such as data entry, payroll, tax handling and bank reconciliations – thanks to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and more advanced systems like Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The effect of technology in the accounting field has made such an impact that the AICPA and NASBA are supporting a CPA evolution. This is aimed at incorporating changing skills and competencies in the accounting field. As a result, this will include a new curriculum and new CPA exams expected to be launched in 2024.

Despite the disruption in the accounting field by technology, it has introduced many new opportunities. Consider this: while automation takes care of repetitive tasks, the accountant can devote more time to planning, organizing, and advising. This enables the accountant to add more value to an organization as they focus on major tasks.

However, this advantage will benefit only those who are well prepared in advance and ready for the new form that accounting is taking.

How to Prepare Your Staff for a New Age in Accounting

Change is not always welcome, but preparing your staff in advance will help ensure a smooth transition. Here is how to prepare your staff:

  • Communicate
    Let your employees know the intended changes in roles as well as new technologies that you plan to implement. Employees also can play a role in selecting technologies best suited to your business operations.
  • Mindset Shift
    Help employees accept the technological changes. They need to shift their mindset and accept the changing digital landscape. This will help with expediency and the ability to take advantage of its benefits.
  • Upskilling and Reskilling
    Give employees a chance to enhance their abilities. They also should learn new things to ensure they have relevant skills to continue working in advanced areas of accounting that require innovation, critical thinking, decision making, etc. Where necessary, they could learn basic programming and even basic automation for more advanced roles like data analysis. Gaining new skills will help your business transition from old systems to new ones, without necessarily hiring new staff.
  • Soft Skills
    Accountants now more than ever need to learn non-technical skills so that they can easily interact with people. If they are expected to take up advisory roles, they should be good at problem-solving, communication, relationship skills, business acumen, etc.
  • Emerging Business Models
    Let your staff be aware of new business models, such as microservices, marketplace platforms, and do-it-yourself models. This especially affects accounting firms whose employees need to be creative on how to leverage these models.
  • Positive Culture
    Develop a culture that enables staff to compete at a new level to keep their morale up so they are not worried about losing their jobs.
  • Stay Updated
    Keep everyone up-to-date with trends even when you don’t intend to implement every new technology that comes up. It helps to stay in the loop of what’s happening in the accounting field.

Keeping up with evolving accounting trends and changes will save you from losing clients. Preparing your staff for the new age of accounting will help your business provide value beyond traditional accounting to your clients. This is because you will be serving as business consultants and strategic partners as opposed to simply accounting experts.

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