The accounting world has changed and keeps changing. Having a robust technical understanding is core to performing effectively in any accountancy role, and this requires knowledge and new skills.
When we consider all of the challenges that face the modern-day accountant, there’s a number that spring to mind:
1. The impact of technology
Companies can take their eye off the ball when they believe you have a high-quality, robust accounting system in place.
Many accounting errors are caught by doing manual checks and regular financial audits. Too many companies have trusted technology only to be let down by not paying attention to the numbers.
2. Adapting to rapid change
Whether it is your business, legislation, tax rules or accounting standards, your business can change rapidly. Sometimes faster than you have the resources to handle.
This can often be down to processes and ensuring all staff have access to resources where they are regularly informed of potential changes in their industry or the professional rules, such as accounting standards.
3. The faith put into advisory services
Companies often make the mistake that they can buy an answer from a third-party company.
But the question is, do they understand the answer provided and agree? Buying an answer is not absolving the company of responsibility.
4. Legislation for the company and changes in the tax system
In some industries, the pace of change in legislation or simply figuring out the impact of a country’s annual budget can be overwhelming.
Clearly, this is dependent on the size of the company. However, more people does not mean that there will be no mistakes.
It’s about identifying the resources and being able to apply the impacts to your company accurately.
Whether it’s a virus on your laptop or the company’s operations being brought to a standstill, cybersecurity, or a lack of it, has played a vital role in several world events, including significant elections.
This is often misunderstood and ignored until there is a problem, but the cost of rectifying it is a lot higher than fully considering it in the beginning.
How Can CPD Help You Solve These Issues?
Continuous Professional Development, or CPD, should not be viewed as just a task to complete to maintain your professional accounting qualification.
It’s an opportunity to constantly update and improve your skills that can protect your profession and your company.
Here are a few topics that, as an accountant, you might feel are outside your responsibility but are an important consideration for your role:
- Understanding Cryptocurrency
- Strategic Management
- Practical Investment Appraisal
- Cyber-risk Management and Reporting
- Anti-money Laundering
- Data Protection
Taking a course in any or all of these areas can enhance your value to the company and make your job as an accountant more interesting and rewarding.
Having looked at the topics that would be added value to the business, what about some of those topics that would help those who work with and for you:
- Management Development
- Team Management
- Investment Appraisals
- Building an Effective Finance Team
The previous two sets of topics contain technical content but also help build additional skills. A lot of times, they can be more interesting for an accountant.
However, accounting scandals rarely happen because of team management or data protection. They happen because of a lack of understanding of all involved in the technical aspects of accounting.
There will usually be technical standards that apply most to your company, and you should always stay on top of these and those tangentially linked to your company. These can include:
- Simplifying the Accounting Framework
- Understanding P&L recognition
- IAS 12 – Income Taxes
- IFRS 15 – Revenue Recognition
- IAS 1 – Presentation of Financial Statements
All these courses are just a summary of what you should be aware of, and your knowledge should be regularly maintained.
Don’t look at your technical CPD as a chore but as a chance to take your career to the next level.