CAANZ has released a report, titled Future proofing the profession: preparing business leaders and finance professionals for 2025, that details the impact of the digital economy on the accounting profession.
Commenting on the report, head of academic relations at CAANZ, Professor James Guthrie, emphasised the presence of a skills gap in the Australian accounting sector, stating “STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills will be required for jobs of the future – but enrolment in these subjects and courses has been in decline”.
Speaking to AccountantsDaily, Professor Guthrie added that “people have got to adapt and adopt, and we need to change our thinking about what accounting work is. Traditional accounting work in terms of financial reporting and tax is probably slipping away; we’ve got to establish usefulness in the creative and advisory processes”.
CAANZ has placed the onus firmly upon the education system, with tertiary education bodies urged to re-evaluate their processes.
“Universities in Australia have got to get on board and make their offerings in a modern way, rather than just bricks and mortar,” said Professor Guthrie.
One of the proposed models focuses on 'life-long learning' in addition to the skills acquired through a tertiary course, a method that does not pigeon-hole accountants but allows them to choose which avenues they wish to pursue.
“Once they’ve got their basic degree, which gives them creativity, teamwork, communication and analytical thinking, they can apply themselves to their technical area, and get on board with these products and learn the skills and competency that each individual needs, rather than say everyone’s got to fit into our package,” Professor Guthrie said.