According to a 2013 survey from Oxford University, 47% of all jobs are ready for automation and that accountants are next to telemarketers who are starting to feel the effects of computerisation. This only means that accountancy is ripe for the digital transition.
Accounting automation can significantly improve the way accountants do their jobs and, consequently, help clients grow their businesses. By automating daily bookkeeping tasks, accountants can keep a closer look on expenses and cash flows and have a clearer understanding of the business, allowing them to come up with more efficient ways to service their clients.
Millennials are in the best position to provide world-class accounting services simply because they are digital natives. They know technology like the back of their hands, which means they can harness its full potential and reshape the accountancy field for the better.
Comprised mostly of millennials, The Outsourced Accountant (TOA) is a breeding ground for topnotch accountants. With 90% of its staff falling under the Gen Y age bracket, it’s easy to make generalisations – mostly negative – about their work ethics. But the truth is, this generation of young professionals can be just as efficient, productive, and essential as any generation in any company.
Nick Sinclair, CEO of The Outsourced Accountant understands and recognises the challenges faced by young accountants today. These millennial professionals have a strong idea of what they want; they know their worth and have clear understanding of where their accounting career path is heading.The conventional workplace setup doesn’t appeal to these people anymore and if they are not impressed by your firm’s values and methods, there’s a high probability that they’ll look for opportunities elsewhere.
“My business has about 500 millennials working for us, so I understand millennial generation values. What they want is career progression, and what they want is to know that their future is going to be growing.”
So how can these young accountants thrive and excel in the industry amidst the changing times? Nick shares his insights and some career advice for accountants.
Go the extra mile
Accounting software will help you offer more value to clients but that isn’t the be-all and end-all. Granted that firms stand to benefit more in terms of productivity by utilising such tools, young accountants need to step up and build on better client relationships.
Having strong communication skills help foster trust between accountants and their clients. Think of yourself as a trusted ally and not just someone who’s crunching numbers for them. Add more value to their business by providing insights, which you can only achieve if you have established a certain level of trust.
So touch base with them more frequently. Be proactive and offer suggestions. Ask questions to see if they’re not clear about something. Provide feedback. Remember, it’s not just about the numbers.
“You need to be able to sell advice for anyone that is wanting to grow and grow fast.”
Put in the hard work and be patient
Millennials are notorious for a lot of things. They are viewed as impatient and lazy and want instant gratification. Because everything is at their fingertips, many of them expect things to be handed to them, like success in climbing the corporate ladder. These perceived negative millennial traits are obstacles that can affect morale and productivity.
These things, however, couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, surveys have shown that millennials are not that different from generations before them; they just have a different background. One study from American consulting firm CEB found that millennials are, in fact, the most competitive. You can’t be lazy and competitive at the same time, can you?
Nick strongly points this out:
“Go through the journey and the only way you’re going to get there is by hard work. The Four-Hour Workweek is non-existent. No successful person doesn’t put the time in. So put the time in and what I would say is be patient. It’s something that I never did at the start of my career. And while it didn’t hinder me the advancement of technology and the way that things are now it would have. So be patient be persistent and do the work. The only way you’re going to get there is if you do the work and you’ll be better than everyone else.”
Use technology to your advantage. Remember that clients will want accountants with software skills. In fact, it’s been found that CFOs ranked “expertise in information technology” ahead of communication skills and customer service.
No, automation tools won’t eliminate the need for accountants. It only changes their roles and helps them focus more on providing strategic insights to their clients. Tech-savvy accountants will be able to interpret data more efficiently and with such ease they can become key players in their firm. If you are keen on a flourishing accounting career path, you need to embrace technology.
So here’s one career advice for accounting students: start learning how to use accounting software. This should open up more opportunities for you.
If you have capacity restraints, are looking to scale your firm, or just want to know what is possible with outsourcing, contact our local industry experts specialists for a consultation today at 1300 896 522.