Budding Accounting Professionals Challenged to Develop New Skillsets
Accounting professionals have been charged to become more futuristic in the discharge of their professional assignment if they must maintain significance in the age of robotics and artificial intelligence.
Associate Director, Ernst & Young, Mr. Seyi Oshibolu, who was Guest Speaker at the Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Accounting, Covenant University, said survival in the new dispensation will require that graduates of accounting start building technical skills and getting professional certifications in the accounting industry.
“The relevance of today’s professionals in the business of accounting in the next 50 years, as it pertains to digital technology, globalization and international regulatory practice, will impact greatly on their continuous usefulness or otherwise,” he stated.
Mr. Oshibolu who delivered a lecture titled ‘The Future Accounting and Finance Professional’ on Monday, October 23, 2017, was of the view that with the anticipated change coming into the 21st century work place, accounting professionals must not sit and wait for change in accounting practice, but should lead the change they desire to see, as accounting in the robotics age will cause serious disruptions that may lead to the loss of jobs for some unprepared folks.
According to him, the key drivers of these changes and disruption will be smarter use of technology in improving ways of working, cloud computing, increasing purchase of outsourced services, social media revealing more data and disclosures, data analytics, automation of complex and routine processes, new business models and improved reporting and presentations with the power of technology.
He noted that automating routine task can allow humans to focus on ideas, innovation and higher-value work, however, it has been predicted that with over 4 billion jobs on earth, 2 billion would be lost and extinct by the year 2050 as a result of technological advances and automation.
Mr. Oshibolu projected that future accounting professionals must, of necessity, need look beyond the numbers as presented; backward looking syndrome must be done away with; finance and non-finance functions will have to collaborate more; teaching institutions need to be more responsive; and the ideal finance professional must develop new competencies.
He posited that some skill sets were required of upcoming accountants in their quest to be competitively relevant in the accounting industry. These include communication, technical, ethical, emotional, digital, intelligent, innovativeness and visionary quotients.
Reacting to the lecture, the immediate past Dean, College of Business and Social Sciences and a Professor of Accounting, Dr. Francis Iyoha, said a lot of ICT skills are needed to emerge a relevant practitioner in the accounting industry. He noted that there was nothing wrong in accountants seeking further knowledge in the area of cyber security as it relates to the accounting profession.
Professor Iyoha added that it was important that accountants in Nigeria ensure that the ethical dimension of the profession is directed at turning around the corruption pandemic bedeviling the nation.