Accountant’s role continues to evolve

Mark Farrar, CEO of AAT, tells us his thoughts on where accountancy is heading in 2020.

The pace of change in the accountancy sector has been relentless during the past decade and has escalated in the past few years. With technology driving the sector forward, there are elements of an accountant’s role that have either already been automated or are likely to be impacted in 2020 and beyond.

Fortunately, cloud-based solutions are generally having a positive effect for our members. Technological advances mean accountants can now report on real-time financial information, which frees them up form routine tasks such as data entry, enabliing them to advise on what the figures mean for their clients. And with these changes we’re seeing the accountant’s role evolving to become more consultative, as highlighted in our recent research.

Further AAT research shows that there is a general skills gap across all industries, costing lower-skilled workers some £12,000 each year in salaries compared with those with an improved skillset.

In 2020, we will continue to call on all UK businesses to upskill their staff, to improve company loyalty and productivity, and help generate an estimated £125 billion economic boost. In this vein, we have been pleased to see more people taking our short training courses, including budgeting, and we expect this to continue.

Data analysis is another area that has undergone rapid change in recent years, and in which some accountants may need to upskill. The need for businesses and accountants to work closely together is a set to strengthen further in 2020, and this is one area where the profession can offer real value.

Thanks to Mark Farrar, CEO, AAT