The future profile of an accountant

With the function of your typical accountant coming under threat from automation, Toby Walsh, a Consultant with recruitment firm Davidson, explore the traits required for accountants of the future and how to spot them.

We’ve all read the latest research surrounding the future world of work. While the exact figures differ pending which research you read, they all have one thing in common: accountants are under threat and robots are to blame.

Just recently, The Economist stated that 94% of the responsibilities of accountants and auditors will be completed by robots in 20 years’ time. Interestingly, recreational therapists are safe with only 0.003% to be affected in the future.

In June, the CEDA report 'Future of the Australian Workforce' was released and looked at predicted job losses and consequently what new jobs will be created in other areas. Therefore, it’s likely there’ll be a similar amount of accounting jobs in 20 years’ time, but the responsibilities of an accountant will look distinctly different.

So if the role of an accountant is going to change, how do accountants stay ahead of the pack and be well placed for the new jobs that will be created? With 10 years of experience in recruiting in the accounting space, the way I see it, accountants have two options: either retrain as recreational therapists or start transitioning towards becoming valuable business advisors for future employers.

The traits of a future accountant

Through sourcing high-performing talent within this field, I have observed the following qualities of accountants setting themselves up for future success, such as those who:

  • Work in groups and surround themselves with the best in the business and field.

  • Have a long list of achievements on their CV that they’re proud of.

  • Are always looking to collaborate with business partners, work with the wider business and add stakeholder value.

  • Challenge current processes.

  • Embrace continued professional development and courses.

  • Work on their personal brand and social media profile. They’re visible and happy to provide commentary and expert opinions when called upon by their industry.

  • Are happy to work in partnership with recruiters and plan a strategic job search.

  • Embrace technology. They’re up-to-date with cloud technology and have a list of systems-related achievements and courses on their resume.

  • Embrace advancing technologies and use it to their advantage.

  • Are knowledgeable about their specialisation and know what competition and predators are out there.

  • Actively network and are members of relevant institutions.

When the above profile is compared to accountants resisting change, sticking to the same methods and avoiding networking opportunities and/or promoting their personal brand (in person and online), it’s easy to spot those accountants who are going to be more resilient to change in the future and remain indispensable for employers.

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  • About the author

About the author

Toby Walsh



Toby Walsh is a recruitment specialist who has a Bachelor of Marketing and almost a decade’s worth of experience specialising within the wealth management space. Toby’s connections span across Brisbane, Sydney and London markets, where he has...