Accountancy must leave spreadsheet comfort zone

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STAFF REPORTER
KARACHI 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 maximise 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 blockchain and artificial intelligence and machine learning. Clive Webb, Senior Subject ManagerBusiness 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 recognise 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 blockchain and the use of coding