Finance Leadership Blog

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How the accounting role is changing and what is becoming more important?

finance career finance leadership risks tech Feb 13, 2023

This isn't a new topic and changes over the last few years have seen finance teams dramatically different to what they were just 5 years ago (Accounts Payable clerk anyone?!). 

However, with the launch of Chat GPT not too long ago, and the continuing introduction of more software (I'll go through my Finance Tech stack of the coming weeks), I feel that it's continuing to change at a rapid rate and we all need to ensure we're adapting to the change as well. 

So the first and obvious one, is increased focus on technology.   The use of technology in accounting is becoming more prevalent, with many organizations moving to cloud-based accounting systems and using automation to improve efficiency and accuracy.  I find this particularly exciting with small businesses, as you can do so much with software, however also frustrating as there is never a perfect fit. 

This is one area that changes constantly and no doubt my Finance Tech stack article will be out of date in about 6 months time! 

Off the back of increase in software is the greater emphasis on data analysis. The role of the accountant is shifting from being primarily focused on historical data to analysing data to provide insights and make strategic decisions. This includes analysing data for cost control, forecasting, and identifying trends. 

This is such a HUGE change and one that should be the main focus of all finance leaders.  Largely because it's the best way to really add value to the business.   

Next up is the increased compliance and regulatory requirements. The accounting profession is facing greater compliance and regulatory requirements. This includes the need to comply with new financial reporting standards and the increased use of technology to provide real-time visibility into financial performance. 

Also, depending on which industry you're in, you will find that some industries have even more requirements that just the above.  FinTech in particular.  Anyone who has worked for a financial regulated entity pre and post Lehman's brothers can testify to this! 

Off the back of this, there is also a greater focus on risk management.  As the business environment becomes more complex, the accounting profession is placing greater emphasis on risk management. This includes identifying and managing risks related to financial reporting, tax compliance, and fraud. 

Even financial statements have higher requirements around risk management and disclosures. 

Thankfully (in my mind), there is also a greater emphasis on sustainability. The accounting profession is placing a greater emphasis on sustainability, including the measurement and reporting of the environmental, social, and governance aspects of an organisation's performance. 

And finally, there is more emphasis on collaboration and communication. The accounting profession is becoming more collaborative and communicative, with accountants working more closely with other departments and stakeholders, such as IT, marketing and operations, to provide insights and make data-driven decisions. 

Business partnership is not a new concept anymore and the finance team can't just sit in the background as an introverted support function.  They need to be part of the business and helping making commercial and business decisions. 

I think that the accounting role is now much more exciting and interesting.  Harder, maybe - as data entry is a thing of the past.  But if you're a leader or aspiring leader - this is a great place to be. 


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