Accounting Recruitment – A disappearing future?
With the 4th Industrial Revolution well under way and Automation, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence potentially set to displace 7.2 m UK jobs over the next 20 years, many of our clients have started to evaluate the impact on the sectors in which they are operating.
It is not all gloom as it is also anticipated that 7.2m jobs are set to be created according to PWC UK economic Outlook Report .
The challenge is that some sectors are set to fair better than others.
Accounting and Finance is one that some commentators like Frey and Osborne from Oxford Martin University predict will be extensively automated.
This interactive graphic from Bloomberg (available on their website) indicates that the following accounting careers are high on the risk of automation
But how is this so?
Well the first thing to say is that few commentators are predicting that technology will replace whole jobs, merely automate large numbers of activities that are typically performed by people in these roles. In accounting however a high percentage of the tasks performed by people in these roles are likely to be automated.
If you consider the accounting tools now available from Sage they can now accept direct feeds from business bank accounts and for regular transactions “rules” can be created on how the transactions are to be posted and handled.
Once the rules are created the user merely has to click “ok” to post a transaction. With Sage’s chatbot Pegg, receipts can also be logged, balances checked and notifications set up as simply as texting a friend.
In addition with the governments initiative to “Make Tax Digital” and the accounting software providers responding with automated processes to do this the role of simple and basic accounting is being “de-skilled”.
Where does this leave the Accounting Profession?
Well the more senior roles such as Finance Director, Financial Controller, Tax Advisor and Management Accountant that involve the interpretation of accounts or the management of complex financial businesses where critical thinking, risk management and the rationalisation of conflicting issues are all required, these roles are at a low risk of automation. That is because they are performing tasks that are harder to automate and are less rule based.
In addition these roles typically command higher levels of status and responsibility as well as salaries and earnings
One option for displaced workers is simple. Displaced professionals will benefit from training-up and re-skilling themselves into these more demanding and challenging roles.
In fact it is safe to say this is true of most of the 7m workers that are likely to be displaced across the whole of the UK economy. The new roles that will be created will require people to re-skill and retrain themselves and are likely to command higher incomes and will be more interesting and challenging as it is the more mundane and routine tasks that are set to be automated.
For all of us “Life-Long Learning” will be a pre-requisite in the next 10-20 years.
If you are interested to see the wider implications on the rest of employment and recruitment sector then you might wish to read our blog: