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Technology and Accounting in the 21st Century

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Technology and Accounting in the 21st Century

Anyone who’s been in the accounting business for more than a decade could tell you that even though the rules of global economy are more or less constant, the accounting tools have changed radically. With the recent tech-boom and especially with the emergence of cloud, the methods of digital accounting have become more potent than they ever were before. What does this mean for the future of the accounting as a profession? Let’s find out!

Technology and Accounting in the 21st CenturyTwo different paths

At this moment, we have two different ways in which technology could interact with accounting. According to Oxford lecturer Daniel Susskind, present day tech could either help accountants be more efficient at what they do, or replace them completely. The examples of the first option are present at nearly every level, but seeing how it happens in virtually any industry (online doctor appointments, architects projecting via software), this is nothing to be worried about. As for the latter one, most fear that the accounting as a profession might become nothing more than a micro-branch of the IT industry. This one is indeed a terrifying thought.

Looking back

In order to understand how we got here, it is important to first go a few decades back, before this tech-revolution happened. According to several surveys, an average accountant would spend most of their work-hours doing things that are not accounting-related. Aside from conducting market research, attending higher-level meetings and acting as strategic advisors to the line manager, they were also expected to act as human resources representatives and management science liaisons. Needless to say, this made their primary work (the work they were trained to do) suffer greatly. From this perspective, it becomes more than clear that while it may have some potential downsides, introducing IT into the accounting business has so far changed things exclusively for the better.

A more versatile position

One of the things that accounting was accused of in the past is being boring and not versatile enough. In the future, however, this is expected to change. For starters, every accountant of the 21st century will be forced to develop at least some basic IT skills in order to use all the necessary tools. Furthermore, they will be greatly encouraged by their employers to develop higher comprehension of the bigger picture and work on their strategic vision of the field. Finally, seeing how most businesses are becoming highly globalized, they will also be expected to get familiar with various international regulations and standards instead of just focusing on those specific to their region.

Technology and Accounting in the 21st CenturyMore appealing than ever

In the end, accounting is undoubtedly still an extremely lucrative profession. The very fact that this industry has migrated into the IT sector, has made it ever more appealing to millennials. You see, millennials are not that keen on the idea of a traditional 9 to 5 cubicle job. Nonetheless, when you offer them to do the same job in a digital work environment (probably even to telecommute most of the time), their views radically change. The prospect of this is more than reason enough for them to get a certificate IV in accounting and look for employment in this line of work.

It is beyond doubt that the 21st century is the age of progress, and progress leaves no stone unturned. Naturally, the fear of something new is always there, and the theories about machines replacing human workers are present in literally every business-niche out there. In reality, however, as far as accounting is concerned, things are actually looking up and will most probably continue to do so.

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