It is a well-known truth that the world we live in is changing at a great speed and the faster we all realize this, the better for us. The accounting and professional services profession does not make an exception and it can be said that it is constantly changing, reorganizing and standing in front of many challenges of the modern world. We will here discuss only few of them, but those which we believe have the greatest impact over our job and those which determine the modern successful accounting practices and distinguishes them from the rest.
First, we would like to start with the technology revolution which is taking over and defining every single aspect of the modern world and economy. Technology and specialized software in accounting is not considered as just a useful tool anymore, but it is seen as an integral part of the accounting profession. As the speed of information increases, so do the demands for a more timely, up-to-date information. Technology has automated many functions and in some cases eliminated layers of staff that were once used to complete complex tasks. Transactions can now be done with fewer steps and fewer people involved. While this has greatly increased efficiency, it also has made it difficult to keep important duties segregated. This can compromise internal controls and increase the risk of fraud. New safeguards have to be developed and included in tomorrow’s technology. It is possible to increase efficiency in such a way that maintains internal controls.
Next, we would like to discuss one idea that we firmly believe in and this is that to succeed in tomorrow’s accounting and finance environments, professionals need a wider range of skills that ever before. This goes for practitioners at all levels and implies that two very important considerations. First, accountants need to communicate more effectively and efficiently with one another and with the clients. The technology revolution does not eliminates the need of a regular communication but on the contrary – it makes it even more necessary and vital for maintaining the high level and avoiding unforced errors and misunderstandings. Another vital skill of the today successful accountant is the constantly growing need they to be more analytical. They must be able to not only produce financial reports and perform complex calculations, but also identify and explain what is meaningful in their data or findings. They need to be able to answer the “Why?” and “Now what?” behind the numbers.
Adaptability is a crucial skill and feature that an accountant must possess in the todays conditions of globalization. The talent itself today is absolutely not enough – it should be a global talent. The global talent helps professionals to work equally well with a middle sized client from their own country and a big corporation from another continent. The knowing and applying of the international accounting standards together with the right global skills and experience of the professionals makes the accounting today a truly international and comprehensive service which can be performed from a distance for the purposes of cost savings or any other considerations that a company may have. The standardization of the accounting contributes to the increasing of the quality of the professionals with the right skills. If a practice is looking to hire for example a payroll expert, it will not be now choosing among applicants from the same country but from the continent or from the entire globe which was absolutely unthinkable only few years ago. The need for professionals with the right skills, regardless where they are located, drives more and more companies to seek talent globally.
And last, but not least, we would like to finish with the ethics in the accounting profession which is nowadays more necessary than ever. This underscores the importance that accountants must attach to ethics. It is imperative that accountants and auditors strictly follow sound ethical principles. Failure to do so can ruin careers, firms and corporations and severely damage the reputation of the accounting profession as a whole. Ethical guidelines must be incorporated into all types of training, including in-house training and formal continuing education, as well as university curriculum. The accountants of today and tomorrow must adhere to the highest ethical standards for the good of their career, their firms and the profession as a whole.