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Accountancy has a future

22 October 2018

The need for an accountancy qualification will be as relevant in 10 years time as it is today, claims big data expert Sam Ellis.

He admitted that business intelligence is changing the way accountants work, but the core qualification needs to remain the same. “PQs still need to learn the accounting basics,” Ellis stressed.

And he should know, he is head of operation and finance at business intelligence firm Interworks and an FCCA.

He explained: “We still need people who know how profit and loss works, how compliance is done, and can interpret a management accounting report.”

If PQs fast-forward five years there will be an element of data science in their role, he said. To be honest many are doing some of it now, but in the future it will be much clearer.

What is important, stressed Ellis, is that accountants don’t run from the importance analytics will play. “Instead they should rush towards it and own it,” he said.

One thing accountants may have to learn is to move away from the idea that Excel is the ‘one tool that rules all’. It is still fine for ad-hoc data crunching, but a modern platform would help accountants so much more. Remember it was never built for sharing!

Accountants will also have to move out of their silos, and show they are the ‘problem solvers’, he said. That means providing information live and in real time. Ellis emphasised if businesses see that accountant can do this then they will remain relevant for the next 30 to 40 years.

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