Speaking to AccountantsDaily at the MYOB Incite conference in Melbourne, Mr Reed conceded technology is impacting the skills development of young accountants but said this is not actually a concern for the profession.
“There are two interesting things when it comes to training recruits: one is that there’s a big fear and concern that if all of this stuff is automated then they won’t actually understand how to do accounting, the nuts and bolts of the accounts,” Mr Reed stated.
“The second is that when recruiting and hiring people … you want someone who can naturally engage and do the advisory, but if they don’t have the knowledge and the understanding of how to read a set of accounts, they’re not going to succeed.
“I’m not as worried about the former, and the reason I say that is if you look over the period of human and professional evolution, the fact that somebody in the industrial revolution could work a sewing machine but didn’t know how to stitch by hand didn’t mean that they were ineffective at their job. The technology meant that the skill wasn’t needed anymore.”
According to Mr Reed, the technological impact on the accounting industry will provide a natural progression in the skill sets of the next generation.
“In the end the technology just kept moving forward and developing, and acquiring the new skill became far more important. I think the same will happen here.”
Mr Reed conceded that a generation gap within firms may result in a hesitance for some businesses to explore an advisory service route moving forward; a service route which seems destined for future generations.
“Lots of people went into the accounting profession not because they love change, but because they love the technical details. It’s different to do advisory.”