Looking Forward: How Will Technology Impact the Accounting Profession?

Technology never stands still … and that means accounting doesn’t, either. As new technologies emerge, from cloud computing to blockchain, accountants need to be prepared for disruptions to their profession.

Here are just three ways in which technology is going to increasingly impact the accounting profession:

CPA Learning Will Change

If you’re training to become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), you’ve probably already encountered some types of technology that handle repetitive tasks for you – something we’ll be taking a further look at in a moment. For example, parts of the CPA exam are scored automatically.

When it comes to studying for exams, too, it’s likely that technology is going to provide new opportunities and better ways to learn. Many CPA review courses already offer a high level of interactivity – and this only looks set to grow.

So if you started studying for your CPA exam in the past and gave up because you were struggling to make good use of your resources, or you found it hard to remember what you were learning, you might well want to give it another go.

Repetitive Tasks Will Be Increasingly Automated

In the past, a lot of accounting tasks – particularly those that fall under the category of “bookkeeping” were very routine and repetitive. As technology has developed, though, it’s clear that more and more tasks will be handled automatically.

This is good news for accountants: instead of focusing on basic, fairly mundane tasks, they’re increasingly in a position to provide clients with up-to-the-minute information and reports.

As ATT’s Chief Executive Mark Farra said in 2018:

“Technology is taking us on an exciting journey and accountants are already feeling the benefit of these changes. Roles are becoming more strategic as a lot of the more manual processes can be done by automation, which is freeing up time for more challenging work.

There will always be a need for human intervention, particularly around the interpretation of data and as a result skillsets of accountants will evolve.”

Cybersecurity Will Become Critical

It’s becoming increasingly common for accounting data to be stored in “the cloud” rather than on a company’s own servers – often so that specific software and apps can be used to update the accounts and run reports on them.

This means that cybersecurity is becoming truly critical to accounting. Data breaches can be hugely costly, especially as the number of threats are growing. Accounting firms are an attractive target to cybercriminals due to all the sensitive financial information they hold.

It’s crucial that accounting firms and finance professionals are able to detect, address, and defeat cyber attacks – which in practice likely means investing in strong IT support teams that can handle the increasing sophistication of cyber threats.

Accounting, as an industry, definitely isn’t standing still. The impact of new technology means that there are plenty of changes ahead – which many accountants are eager to embrace, believing that new tools and increased automation free them up to do their most interesting and creative work.

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