Accountants might be traced again to early civilization after they used solely tokens and scripts to trace monetary data. The sphere has persistently developed all through historical past — and whereas the fundamentals might stay the identical, because of know-how, accounting roles and processes look very totally different than they did 50, 25 and even 10 years in the past. Understanding the useful tech now obtainable is an important a part of turning into an accountant.
Why are Tech Abilities Essential to Accountants?
Expertise helps accountants determine and make suggestions to unravel enterprise issues. In consequence, organizations can acquire extra knowledge than ever. Mona Stephens, lead accounting college at Southern New Hampshire College (SNHU), stated accountants with strong know-how abilities may analyze that knowledge and use it to create statistical fashions and visualizations that assist their organizations.
Expertise permits accountants to entry real-time knowledge, giving shoppers and accounting managers the data wanted to take advantage of correct and related choices doable. Based on Stephens, know-how also can assist accountants with duties akin to:
- Understanding their shoppers’ tax positions
- Managing shoppers’ stock and buying choices
- Offering readability on the implications associated to cost altering, evolving shopper preferences and the potential impacts of opening a brand new location
Expertise can be shifting the tasks of accountants.
“The automation of many repetitive duties that was a part of the accounting perform has allowed the accountant to turn out to be extra of a enterprise advisor and strategic associate,” she stated.
So, What Forms of Expertise are Accessible to Accountants?
As know-how has superior, so has the accounting area. Stephens stated that areas the place accountants would beforehand work with normal monetary reporting and enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) methods are actually being changed with rising applied sciences. A few of these rising applied sciences and their roles, she stated, embrace:
- Synthetic intelligence (AI) and robotics assist automate repetitive duties.
- Blockchain validates and maintains information of secured transactions.
- Cloud computing gives accountants entry to their methods from varied places creating a better strategy to share data between workers, shoppers and stakeholders.
- Information analytics allows accountants to create experiences and dashboards that always mirror stay knowledge and can be utilized for decision-making and reflection.
- The Web of issues (IoT) gives the gathering and entry of stay knowledge from varied sources, akin to radio frequency id (RFID) chips, scanners and different internet-connected sensors and units.
Cloud computing, particularly, is one know-how that is turning into extra widespread amongst accounting corporations. A 2022 survey revealed that 58% of enormous corporations and 57% of midsized corporations use cloud-based accounting software program, based on Funds On-line. Moreover, 45% of all small corporations use cloud-based software program.
Seeking to the long run, one other 2022 survey famous that 48% of executives imagine that superior knowledge analytics is an important know-how to harness with a purpose to stay aggressive long run, based on an Economists Influence report (PDF supply). The survey additionally confirmed that executives imagine different main applied sciences, akin to blockchain (35%), AI/machine studying (34%), IoT (33%) and robotic processing (29%), have been additionally vital for long-term planning.
Different applied sciences utilized in accounting embrace ERP instruments akin to Quickbooks, Sage 50 (previously Peachtree), SAP and Oracle Netsuite, Stephens stated. This know-how additionally comes with varied different instruments that accountants now have at their disposal.
Based on Stephens, these are another instruments and their roles that accountants might make the most of:
- Information analytics software program helps visualize the outcomes of transactions, determine uncommon occasions and traits, and higher perceive clients, workers, merchandise, distributors and markets. Examples of this software program embrace Tableau, PowerBI and Alteryx.
- Excel permits customers to create and manipulate worksheets whereas making ready visualizations, creating descriptive statistics and performing audit analytics and what-if situations.
- Python is a programming language that reads structured and unstructured knowledge and permits customers to work with bigger datasets. Customers can pull particular knowledge and clear, merge, recode and create applications for varied analytical wants.
- Structured question language (SQL) is a coding language used to entry knowledge inside datasets and databases.
Stephens stated accountants should additionally concentrate on cybersecurity and the dangers of counting on know-how. However, whether or not you are at present a CPA or bettering your accounting and finance abilities to turn out to be one, know-how will almost certainly turn out to be an integral a part of your journey.
Studying Tech Abilities as a CPA
As a CPA, you possibly can work in varied organizations and have your personal practices and shoppers. Whereas the know-how you could use depends upon your specialization, having a know-how background may give you a lift over potential competitors.
“As CPA corporations rely extra on know-how and knowledge analytics, they want extra workers with these know-how (and) analytics abilities,” Stephens stated.
However don’t fear. There are many methods which you could proceed to enhance your know-how abilities after turning into a CPA.
“CPAs are required to have a sure variety of hours of continuous skilled training (CPE) from accredited Nationwide Affiliation of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) to retain their licenses,” Stephens stated. “Every state units its personal hours and necessities.”
For instance, New Hampshire requires you to have 120 hours of CPE each three years, whereas California requires 80 hours each two years, based on an interactive map by FurtherEd. You need to use this instrument to find out your personal potential CPE wants.
Stephens stated persevering with training is one of the best ways to enhance your know-how abilities.
“There are quite a few NASBA-approved organizations that provide programs on totally different applied sciences,” she stated. As an illustration, the AICPA gives know-how programs, in addition to many different skilled accounting associations, together with:
- American Accounting Affiliation (AAA)
- Affiliation of Licensed Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
- Institute of Administration Accountants (IMA)
“There are additionally a number of free providers on-line which have coaching for various applied sciences,” Stephens stated.
So, whether or not you need to turn out to be an accountant or have already got your CPA, there are a number of methods to construct your useful tech abilities and keep present with what’s obtainable at this time and into the long run.
Uncover extra about SNHU’s on-line accounting diploma: Discover out what programs you will take, abilities you will study and how you can request details about this system.
Nicholas Patterson ’22 is a author at Southern New Hampshire College. Join with him on LinkedIn.