How Technology Has Changed The Accounting Job

September 28, 2015 12:46 am1 commentViews: 286

By : Chelsy Ranard 

Accountingbiz1As the financial industry is fluctuating and unpredictable, likewise, financial accounting must be flexible.  Since the invention of accounting by Luca Pacioli in 1494, the accounting industry has been constantly evolving and changing. Accounting is every business’s language, and because of this, it has to keep up with the technology that will make the accounting job easier. Over time, the biggest change in the life of an accountant will come from technology advancements.  Due to the evolution of technology, the current perspective of an accountant now is much different from the number crunchers of the past.

Computing

The beginning of computing numbers started with the very basic calculators such as the abacus and various adding machines. These machines were used to make the accountant’s job a little easier as they do the calculations and the recording of positives and negatives. The speed and proficiency of these technological advancements made big changes for accountants of the time. Although paper entry was still the only way to record the numbers calculated by the computing machines, the job was a bit faster and there were fewer mistakes than before without these machines.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the financial industry saw a major overhaul with the use of computers and widespread use of Microsoft Excel. Gone were the days of using outside calculators and written spreadsheets. Ledgers and pencils were obsolete and the age of Excel began. The realm of knowledge for accountants began to expand beyond basic computing and tax preparation.  Accountants were taught how to compile data for analysis and statistics. Financial advisors rose from the accounting profession in the wake of these huge technological advancements from basic computing.

Internet Age

The use of the internet for accounting has greatly changed the ease at which both the accountant and their client can communicate and pass information. With the use of the internet, businesses have the added perk of the intranet to communicate internally to boost efficiency. Information is now readily available instantaneously creating a fast paced environment for the entire financial industry. With the added speed and effectiveness for accountants, many software options became available to further promote the ease at which accountants could do their job. They are able to compile client history, watch for trends, and analyze years of accounting data to give sound financial advice to their clientele.

Accountingbiz2Along with internet technology came various different types of data storage. From the floppy disk to the USB to the cloud, the availability for mobile data collection is getting bigger and more impressive. With the widespread use of cloud data management, datacenters are becoming obsolete and the use of centralized data for certain applications is no more. The information stored by accountants and kept in a cloud system requires companies to rethink their data governance in order to adapt to this new technology change affecting the business industry.

Information Technology

With various technological advancements affecting the accounting world, the job has become more efficient and fast paced. But they also entail the need to acquire a wider variety of skills that accountants must learn including higher level of computer skills. Those skills that were used to be taught to entry-level accountants are now either completely rudimentary, no longer necessary or only cover a small part of the job requirements. The application and integration of information technology into the accounting process are now vital requirements. Accounting professionals should learn the accounting software that will adapt to tax laws.  On top of having a broad range of accounting knowledge, they must also have strong set of skills in information technology that merges with the financial industry systems.

Job Openings

Once the skillsets for accounting professionals become more varied and specialized, there will be better job opportunities. On top of their financial and technological knowledge, accountants also specialize in other fields or areas of accounting. When tax crimes are committed, especially corporate fraud, tax accountants are necessary to provide the audit and investigation. But while technology enables many industries to grow and become more profitable, the crimes committed using that same technology may also grow.   Thus, forensic accounting became a job title that grew in popularity especially after the high-profile corporate fraud cases of the early 2000’s such as Enron, WorldCom and Tyco. A CPA, with the knowledge required to be a forensic accountant, has all the perfect qualifications to investigate these high profile crimes.

There are lots of available technological advancements in the accounting industry now that can be utilized by the accountants.  When accounting professionals use and adapt these technological advancements, it is not a big surprise that they will become successful in their careers.  Since accounting firms has become the most profitable private business sector in the United States, it makes sense that accounting is a promising field to enter.  Even other businesses of any type and size require accountants and information technology to help their business grow.  Thus, accounting professionals who are also knowledgeable in information technology, are the most suitable candidates for career growth in any company.  With advancements in technology, the career life of an accountant has changed for the better.

 

Chelsy_RanardThis article was written by Chelsy Ranard.  Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She enjoys travelling, spending time with her animals, and drinking wine. Follow her on Twitter!

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