Accountancy must leave spreadsheet comfort zone

Karachi, March 24, 2020 (PPI-OT): Continuous learning and reacting to digital transformation investment could help accountants define their digital skills and ensure they are future-ready, a report has revealed. The Digital Accountant, produced by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), surveyed top professional accountants advising businesses across Pakistan.

The report explores the digital challenges accountants face and how they can maximize opportunities by becoming a digital citizen. In the report’s survey, more than 4,200 global respondents recorded a higher level of ability in the more traditional areas of spread sheeting – 81% indicated an expert ability level. When asked about their understanding of enterprise resource planning solutions, 72% identified as experts.

However just 20% of accountants believed they had expertise in emerging technologies such as block chain and artificial intelligence and machine learning. Clive Webb, Senior Subject Manager- Business Management at ACCA and the report’s author, believes greater ambition with technology can help accountants be future-ready for digital challenges.

He said: ‘A gradual comfort zone has developed in accountancy in relation to technology. It is important to recognize the days of spreadsheets being the new technology for accountants are over. The profession is comfortable with older digital technology such as spreadsheets, enterprise resource planning. Digital transformation is one of the key conversations across businesses at present. The amounts invested by organisations are significant; the benefits substantial.

‘Accountants must now have the capability to respond to digital challenges presented by the profession. This can be achieved by showing purpose, ambition and understanding technology such as block chain and the use of coding.

Speaking the language of technology and appreciating how it can drive business models can benefit accountants significantly. This could be from spending just three minutes-a-day invested in continuous learning and identifying future opportunities on how to improve their understanding of technology.’

Mr Webb called on the accountancy profession to not rest on its laurels by ensuring it keeps pace with new and emerging technologies in the near-future. He continued: ‘The evolution of technology and the digital landscape will continue. The pace of change that we have seen in recent years may well be eclipsed by the operationalisation of technologies such as 5G and hyperautomation.

The business model of today is likely to be far from the business models of five to ten years’ time. The integrated workplace of smart systems, smart cities, smart workplaces and flexible working lives is becoming a reality. ‘Whatever role practitioners carry out in the accounting and finance profession, they can make a difference in this technological world. While digital skills are important, their trust and ethics are the crucial and unique lens of the accountancy professional.’

For more information, contact:
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Pakistan (ACCA)
Office No. 5, 2nd Floor, SNC Centre,
Fazal-ul-Haq Road, Blue Area, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-111-222275
Fax: +92-51-2876605