A Career Built for the Future
With greater reliance on technology, today’s CPAs are doing more to guide strategic decisions and evolve businesses.
Over the past decade, advances in technology have kept CPAs and accounting professionals on their toes as artificial intelligence, robotics, and blockchain permeate the services they deliver – and there is no sign of them slowing down. Task-oriented projects that take up sizeable amounts of time are now being automated, allowing CPAs to focus more on generating actionable insights and creating business partnerships and less on debits and credits.
To maintain their status as leaders and trusted business advisers, accountants must master these technology-specific hard skills along with ever-relevant soft skills to communicate crucial insights to their employers and clients.
In-Demand Financial Skill Sets
Analytical and Technological
- Data modeling and visualization: transforming data to visuals and models that provide greater context.
- Strategic trend analysis: identifying data trends and making strategic decisions based on findings.
- Design thinking: creating innovative solutions and redefining problems based off user feedback.
- Programming: taking an algorithm and encoding it into a notion to be executed by a computer.
- Strategic thinking: analyzing critical factors and variables that will influence the long-term success of a business, a team, or an individual
- Service management: bringing utility or value to the customer.
- Relationship Management: managing interactions with current and potential customers.
- Communications: articulating ideas clearly and effectively.
- Business modeling: creating, delivering, and capturing value in economic, social, cultural, or other contexts.
- Process design: transforming an organization’s vision, goals, and resources into actionable steps and measurable outcomes.
- Financial driver analysis: understanding the key inputs and activities that drive the business’s financial results.
Source: KPMG, Future Ready Finance Survey, 2019
Embracing Innovation: Technology in Action
Emerging technology has pushed the entire accounting profession – from CPA firms to government agencies – to find new ways to innovate. Here are some direct and indirect ways technology has transformed this sector.
CPA firms are now seeking candidates that possess communication and computer science skills needed for a deeper understanding of systems, controls and data analysis to execute their responsibilities. (AICPA, 2020). Additionally, as organizational leaderships believe cybersecurity as the greatest threat facing the world economy over the next 10 years (EY, 2020), CPA firms are helping clients protect their data through understanding security weaknesses and implementing cyber-attack mitigation efforts.
Companies are finding ways to leverage Artificial Intelligence, increase profitability and achieve scale. By doing so, 78% of business leaders believe existing accounting staff will take on more value-driven roles. (World Economic Forum 2020)
Cloud-based systems are becoming an accounting as platforms allow data to update in real-time. For nonprofits, this means a greater ability to stretch dollars further to help tackle humanitarian challenges. (Robert Half, 2019)
Departments and agencies across federal, state, and local governments are using technology to expand efficiencies and drive innovation by using software that promotes agility and upscale promising ideas and solutions. (Deloitte, 2020)
Interested in taking a deeper dive into how the accounting profession is innovating because of technology? Check out some of our top tech-focused articles:
- Stand out with sharp tech skills: Recruiters put tech ‘on par’ with accounting knowledge.
- The tech skills employers expect from new grads: Learn which abilities and knowledge can give you an edge on the job market.
- AI everywhere: What accountants should know: Artificial intelligence will shake up finance work, but there’s time to prepare.
- Beyond Excel: Technology skills new accountants should know.