Expert Encourages Accountants to Embrace Technology for Improved Performance
Having a rudimentary understanding of the mechanisms of traditional accounting principles is not sufficient for the upwardly-mobile and ambitious accountant of today, where mobile devices are the platform of choice for the entrepreneur who is keen to be at the forefront of cutting-edge technology.
This was the assertion of the Regional Director of SAGE, West Africa, Mr. Magnus Nmonwu, the Guest Speaker at a ‘Town and Gown’ seminar of the Department of Accounting, Covenant University, held on Friday, March 09, 2018.
Addressing an audience comprised of undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff of the Accounting department, Mr. Nmonwu said that, with more than a third of young entrepreneurs (38% in Nigeria) maintaining that the technology they use is the most important element when it comes to the smooth running of their business, it becomes incumbent on accounting professionals to be acquainted with the latest technology in the business world.
He assuaged the fears of accounting professionals that the evolvement of technology in accounting would terminate the need for accountants. According to him, “Technology will not take your job, but it will change it. As machine learning and artificial intelligence make fast advancements, administrative accounting jobs will eventually be phased out and replaced with the technology that does these jobs faster and more efficiently. However, that doesn’t mean your job is at risk”.
Mr. Nmonwu noted that relevance in the accounting industry would largely be dependent on planning to survive in an IT proliferated business environment, being passionate about the profession, having the right attitude to work, and adopting new skill set that will help to adapt to the changing professional landscape. “Most attractive workers have skills that cannot be replaced with computers like advisory roles, consulting, and potential Chief Financial Officer’s duties. Skilled professionals are the most desirable talent for expanding accounting departments, while the need for administrative roles has decreased significantly,” he added.
The guest speaker averred that as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) keep coming into play in the daily operations of human existence, it is important that accountants brace up for the connecting interplay of AI in the accounting profession. This, he posited, is primarily due to the fact that the world is already making the most of cloud accounting software, thus making the cravings for conventional certification inexpedient.
Mr. Nmonwu said that it was a great time to be in the accounting profession, with accounting firms and accounting departments expanding in many major corporations. The larger concern in the industry, he pointed out, was that the last decade had witnessed a major shortage of quality accountants, which is great for those looking to enter a field that is not oversaturated. He counseled those interested in the profession to develop a specialty in the field, create a niche and become an expert in a particular subfield of accounting.
In her remarks, the Head, Department of Accounting, Professor Bukola Uwuigbe, said that the seminar was packaged to ensure that no graduate in the Department is released as a blind and sterile professional into the industry. “Our students are packaged to ensure that they are abreast of the best practice in the profession, and that is why we ensure that there is constant engagement with professionals in the business of accounting,” she emphasised.
Participants were introduced to the Sage accounting application and the impact it can serve from small start-ups to larger organisations.