For the longest time, accountants have been synonymous with bean counters – pulling long hours with scant respite provided by the whir of the portable fans accompanying them long after the office air-conditioning has been switched off (by none other than their equally cost-conscious employers).
But times have changed. “Bean counting” and other more manual forms of book-keeping have been replaced by automation, notably cloud accounting. The accountant is now more often than not seen as a ‘trusted business advisor’ – playing a strategic, rather than operational role in the firm. From balancing books, he might now be asked to help decide on key accounting policies and their respective P/L impacts, advise on complex cross-border tax issues, or simply chime in on business decisions from a budgetary perspective.
This has precipitated an increasing demand for accounting candidates with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to think creatively and out of the box. If an accountant is to be a key contributing member of a management meeting, he must be able to present well, think critically and have high EQ to know when to talk and/or when to remain silent.
With the advent of cloud accounting technology, with entrants such as Xero taking Singapore by storm, the accountant will also increasingly find himself taking on more supervisory roles.
Instead of manually having to enter every debit and every credit per transaction, he might find himself doing a lot more reconciliations, or ‘troubleshooting’, as low-level entries are taken care of by the smart algorithms of the system. In other words, a clerical staff may upload or scan in copies of invoices or bills, with the corresponding entries generally taken care of in the background. The accountant comes in to tie up the loose ends and use his professional expertise to ensure proper classification, reconciliation, and analysis of the numbers.
This is basically the dawn of the ‘partnership era’, where collaborative relationships between service providers and clients are established and maintained, supported by the internet of things.
Joy Management Services embraces the evolving expectations of Accounting Professionals. We are on the cloud with Xero. Get in touch with us to learn more!