Becoming influential business partners

Andrew Harding, Chief Executive of CIMA, tells us his thoughts on where accountancy is heading in 2020.

As we enter the 2020s, businesses will continue to experience waves of rapid innovation, which will provide both challenge and opportunity for the profession. Machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence will drive change faster than ever before. We are now living digital transformation that will enable us to re-imagine finance.

This means that regardless of their size, sector, industry or location, businesses and finance professionals must prepare for the future as, whether they like it or not, their operating environment will be completely overhauled.

In this context, demand for pure reporting and custodian roles in the accounting profession will continue to decline – but fear not, that’s a good thing. As finance professionals we have the opportunity to develop our role within business to become influential business partners, shifting from back-office to front-of-house, and with it from support function to proactive value creators. However, to rise to the challenge and cement this position we must broaden our digital skills, enhance our EQ and commercial skills and become proactive learners throughout our careers.

Learning how to adapt to change and shake up conventional ways of doing things will be the key to ensuring both individual professional and sustainable corporate success in the 2020s. My advice: live to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Thanks to Andrew Harding, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants