The Future of the Accountancy Profession
This decade is particularly interesting because it brings together a pool of multidisciplinary professionals – from accountants and finance specialists, to business owners, psychologists, Information Communications Technology (ICT) specialists and academics; together people will debate the future which accountancy faces, away from the stereotypical ‘number crunching’ image which one typically (and erroneously) associates with this industry.
Accountants are expected to make professional judgements, skepticism and, in doing so, to exercise the highest standards of integrity and honesty with due professional care. More than ever before, to remain relevant, accountants need to master new skills, particularly when it comes to ICT, digital and social media. The accountants of tomorrow will need a dynamic combination of honesty, independence, technical acumen and soft skills to succeed in a constantly growing market.
Sustainability is an increasingly important criterion, but many investment opportunities appear to conceal a lot of risks on this front, for instance, when it comes to stranded assets, i.e., fossil reserves that can suddenly decrease in value, or circular business models and the accompanying long-term obligations and risks. Banks and gratuity/pension funds are hesitant and governments remain reticent, despite ambitious objectives for the energy transition. In this case, a lack of knowledge and insight into actual risks is an important factor. So there are reasons enough for protectors of the environment and financiers to welcome accountants with open arms. And also reasons enough for the accounting profession to step up our efforts in developing integrated reporting and integrated audits, and testing the robustness of accounting and auditing standards in new business models. With respect to changing business environment the accounting and auditing standards transforms in order to show their compatibility with current situation and sort out investor’s problems in an appropriate way. The aim is to gain an insight into actual risks on the set of financial statements. A new type of economy is being formed, where accountants have another opportunity to demonstrate their relevance. And this is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss and world cannot ignore accountants.