Financial Services Ireland


Meaningful work for accountancy and finance professionals in the digital age

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The adoption of digital technologies presents significant opportunities for accountancy and finance professionals to achieve rewarding, meaningful work experiences, as highlighted by a new joint report from EY and ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

The report, which can be downloaded below, is based on a global survey of 4,281 respondents and 55 interviews between April and May 2020. It discusses the impact of Covid-19 and the pandemic’s role in accelerating existing trends – most notably the shift to remote working – and provides a practical roadmap for accountancy and finance professionals who wish to pivot their work towards greater engagement with digital tools.

Overall, the report shows that there is room to increase levels of digital adoption. Globally, community technologies such as social media and messaging saw the highest adoption rates (55%) followed by ‘Next-generation’ computing (eg Cloud, Serverless, Edge) at 36% and data technologies (eg big data, analytics, visualisation) at 30%. The largest gap in adoption rates between leaders and the rest of respondents was within the data technologies category. Looking ahead to the next decade, respondents expect engagement with digital and technology to approach 90%.

The report also found that less experienced professionals, who might be expected to be more digitally savvy, found the transition to remote working as a result of Covid-19 more difficult than experienced employees. This may reflect factors like a lack of appropriate workspace where they live, or a greater need for guidance in their work.

Speaking about the report’s findings, Ruchi Bhowmik, Global Vice Chair – Public Policy at EY said: “Embracing new technology will help ease many of the pressures on today’s accountancy and finance professionals from increasingly complex, but routine tasks, and bring a new sense of purpose to their roles. At EY, our professionals are already leveraging technology and analysing data in a way that helps elevate their daily work, build essential skills, and lead to rich and meaningful careers.”

Eoin MacManus, Managing Partner, EY Financial Services Ireland, contributed to the report and is quoted in it as saying:

“We can now look at much more data in the audit and interrogate it intelligently. Tax platforms can help with preparing returns or doing calculations for international and withholding taxes; in the past we’d have big spreadsheets with countries filling details as per their tax laws, now its all automated. And for transaction support, we use lots of tools that in the past would’ve been in data rooms and are now shared on secure platforms between clients and teams.”

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA, said: “Satisfaction in work is a fundamental building block of a happy and successful life. For accountancy and finance professionals, digital tools offer new possibilities for meaningful work that will outlast the economic challenges posed by the global pandemic.”

You can also review our latest insights and thinking to support you in leading through these volatile times; don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question.

Eoin MacManus

Managing Partner, Global Simplification
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