How to Approach Reskilling of Accountants.

We often hear that technology will enhance the roles of accountants and auditors by taking over the routine/rote tasks and freeing up time for analysis and interpretation. It sounds good until you start to consider exactly what this means.

The part about taking over routine tasks is easy enough to understand. Just use the relevant technology to do the work. Learning enough about using the technology is usually not that big a deal. But then comes the part about analysis and interpretation. This requires enhanced skills in strategy, business transformation, IT consulting, data analytics, outsourcing, cybersecurity and the like. Skills that most accountants have touched on in their training but may not have developed to a highly professional level. Moreover, the fact that the increased use of technology requires a deep understanding of various features of that technology to serve the second part about analysis, etc. For example, if an accountant uses tax preparation software they need to understand the defaults and methodologies used in the software to avoid letting it make errors. Sometimes the defaults don’t apply to a particular situation.

Another example involves use of a spreadsheet such as Excel. All accountants use spreadsheets. But their level of understanding of those spreadsheets varies considerably. Accountants need to ask themselves, for example, if they have the skills to properly use the analytical features of Excel.

For many accountants, learning more deeply the capabilities of the software they are already using is a helpful way to venture into the world of better analysis and interpretation. That and learning more about things like data analytics, data management, cybersecurity and the like. Reskilling is a necessity in this new environment.

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