The role of an accountant is changing, particularly as many of their traditional roles have been taken over by cloud computing systems and analytical software.
This makes it a very exciting prospect for anyone considering the study of accounting or those about to start their degree final year. You have an opportunity to become a “trusted advisor” to companies of all shapes and sizes.
To earn the title “trusted advisor“ means establishing a working relationship of trust and understanding. This accountant will know the business well, including aims, ambitions and challenges, and can respond quickly to requests for financial insight.
At one time, accountants were largely focused on carrying out a series of annual tasks. Increasingly, their ability to not only collate financial information but also analyse and direct it towards specific business issues, has made them more valued as consultants. Particularly in periods of change.
Business decision makers use accountancy acumen and insight as part of business strategy, making full use of forensic evaluations and an increased ability to predict financial patterns.
The software has automated much of the processes involved in accountancy and freed up more time for qualified accountants to focus on developing their consultancy skills.
The ability to make recommendations and suggestions doesn’t come as easily to some people as others. Being comfortable in the world of mathematics and IT doesn’t easily translate to being confident in giving advice to Managing Directors that will shape business developments.
It’s why good interpersonal skills, strong communication abilities and emotional intelligence are all part of an accountant’s tool box, and integral to degree studies.
For some accountants, that means specialising in one particular industry sector – or many concentrate on working with personal tax advice.
Trusted advisor for individuals
A great example of how accountants can become trusted advisors is in the field of inheritance tax advice.
People are living much longer these days. There has also been a polarisation in earning potential, with the upper strata amassing great wealth.
It makes for an interesting area of work for future accountants – not least as the amount passing from one generation to another is predicted to rise from 69 billion in 2017 to 115 billion by 2027.
There are investment and inheritance tax decisions to be made that can’t be left to computer programmes – no matter how advanced analytical software and artificial intelligence becomes.
Instead, trusted advisors will be sought out; future accountants with the skills, qualifications and insights needed to work with individual clients with empathy and adaptability.
The starting point is studying at a college in London which believes that higher education must keep pace with industry changes and needs. Contact Mont Rose College Ilford, to enrol on a degree course you can “trust” or to request advice you can count on.