Many accountants see being tech savvy as a key survival skill for the future of their businesses.
In a survey of 2,000 accounting professionals and SMEs by Xero, four out of five (83%) accountants said understanding technology is as important to their job as understanding accountancy. A third of small business owners cited ‘technology competency’ as the most important skill in a business adviser. Some 71% of accountants consider automation to be crucial to their success over the next five years.
With the arrival of cloud accounting tools, a broadening of skillsets seems a vital strategy: 59% of the SMEs surveyed said they didn’t think they would need an accountant at all, in ten years’ time.
Half (48%) of accounting professionals are taking internal courses and 26% are taking external courses to adapt to new tech, with some swotting up on business intelligence.
A further 60% of professionals are confident that they can adapt to change, but 22% feel it will be so great that they might need to leave the sector.
Additionally, almost half, 43%, believe risk analysis will be required for success beyond 2025, and 27% for management consultancy. However, the report highlighted that most accountants are failing to invest time in education for them and their staff to adapt to new technologies.