According to a new study by MYOB, 61 per cent of accountants and bookkeepers believe tech skills will be the most important competence for new hires in 10 years’ time, ahead of interpersonal skills at 54 per cent and specific accounting software knowledge at 51 per cent.
The recent survey of 523 Australian accountants and bookkeepers contrasts with demands from a decade ago, when accounting software knowledge was the most sought-after skill.
“Accountants and bookkeepers are increasingly required to be adept at finding the right solutions for their clients. This calls for strong tech skills alongside interpersonal skills, two elements not traditionally associated with accounting and bookkeeping professions,” said MYOB general manager of partners Blake Collins.
“We know businesses benefit from using technology to automate tasks, save time and eliminate errors.”
The research also found that less than a quarter of SME clients work with business advisers outside of accounting and bookkeeping, offering accountants and bookkeepers an opportunity to wear additional hats beyond their conventional offering.
“Accountants and bookkeepers have a great opportunity to introduce their clients to technology, with more than half of respondents saying that less than 25 per cent of their SME clients use apps, add-ons or product innovations to help them run their business,” Mr Collins said.
“Forty-four per cent said their SME clients don’t take advantage of technological innovations because they lack technical skills.
“With 40 per cent of accountants and bookkeepers still spending most of their day on compliance work, what we’re likely to see change is how that compliance work is managed. An increased reliance on technology tools and knowledge to get more of that done faster, for accountants and bookkeepers as well as their clients.”