With many accountants nearing retirement age, new accounting grads should see a boom in the job market, but that doesn't mean your future in accounting is guaranteed. Complex factors are affecting the industry, making the future of accounting changeable and uncertain. The accountant of tomorrow may differ significantly from the accountant of today. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for this uncertainty.
Learn to Adapt
Future accountants need to be able and willing to adapt to the changing face of the field. Whether that involves a technological innovation, an emerging industry need or changes in regulations, your ability to learn and accommodate is essential to your success. At the same time, make sure to pay attention to your own personal areas of interest within the field. Those are the places where you are best able to shine. Expect these areas to shift as you grow and develop as an accountant, and be ready and willing to pursue new educational opportunities to stay at the top of your field in those niches. Look for the future of accounting to require continual education and training to stay on top of new developments.
Watch for Opportunities
The future of accounting is likely to include career paths that look different than the accounting career paths of the past. Accountants will be less likely to stay with the same company for decades, moving up through the ranks as they gain experience. More large accounting firms are moving entry-level positions offshore. Graduate degrees are becoming more important as new accountants need to handle complex tasks. Don't be afraid to switch firms when the opportunity arises to tackle new challenges or pursue promotions.
Small accounting firms are also changing. More companies are using software solutions and cloud computing for basic accounting tasks. The future of accounting requires workers who have social skills and marketing knowledge for consulting with clients and offering insights into data as well as recommending solutions to problems. Finding the right position to match your skill set and interests may take some effort. Keep your professional network strong to find more opportunities that suit your aptitude.
Keep Your Technology Skills Up to Date
Expect the future of accounting to include the regular use of the latest technology. For example, new blockchain technology makes it easy to keep secure records online with multiple users inputting data, improving the transparency of records and the ease of the auditing process. Accountants familiar with new digital tools as soon they are ready for use will be in high demand as technology evolves. Consider continuing education in information technology. Accounting firms will need more accountants who are both skilled in the accounting field and information technology to handle the digital innovations of the future.
Your future in the accounting profession is ultimately up to you. Stay flexible and current on the latest technological trends. Keep your professional network strong, and be open to opportunities to use your current skills and develop new ones. The future of accounting presents some challenges but also offers many opportunities for those who have a passion for the field.
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