A recent survey of accountants in the UK has found that 83 percent believe understanding technology is equally as important to their job as understanding accountancy.
The survey, undertaken by Xero, an accounting software company, found that 71 percent consider knowledge of automation in the financial sector to be crucial to their success within the next five years. 48 percent of accounting professionals are taking internal courses and around a quarter are sitting external courses to ensure they are proficient with new technology, including business intelligence tools.
A third of small business owners (31 percent) cite "technology competency" as the skill they consider most important in a business advisor. Almost half of UK accountants said skills in risk analysis (43 percent) and management consultancy (27 percent) will be required to thrive in the industry beyond 2025 as tech forces change.
However, the report also highlights that while most accountants recognize the importance of keeping up to date with new technologies, the majority appear to be failing to invest sufficient time in education to enable them and their staff to do so.
The survey also found a shift in the traditional "9-to-5" working day as cloud technology takes over. 40 percent of accountants say that technology has made their working day more flexible and 75 percent believe they would be more successful if they could choose the hours they worked.
93 percent of accountants said increased flexibility would be beneficial for those with commitments outside of work, such as for parents.
The report reveals that 16 percent of small business owners expect to interact with their accountant purely through accounting software in the future, followed by instant messaging (10 percent) and video calls (10 percent). Only 42 percent thought they would interact face-to-face at all in the future.