How technology is changing accounting and what bachelor’s students need to know
To those earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, while your immediate priorities might be mastering basic taxation, know that the power of computing is transforming the accounting profession. And staying abreast of technological advances within the industry is key to remaining competitive in the future job market.
According to a recent Accounting Today article, author Felice Persico, Global Vice Chair of Assurance at Ernst & Young, discusses how technology has helped accountants leverage more powerful tools to perform deeper and more insightful audits. Their use of technology has allowed greater focus on data analysis and problem solving. This shift in focus has helped accountants serve a more active role in supporting business strategy and decision-making.
“With deeper insights at their disposal, auditors are better positioned to ask more challenging questions, delivering a more effective quality audit,” writes Persico.
Another widely discussed technology trend in the accounting industry is cloud computing — the ability to run applications online rather than from a specific location. This allows greater accessibility for both the accountant and client while saving time. For example, customers can log their travel expenses via phone while on the road. For accountants, cloud computing offers a range of benefits that streamline business operations. For example, accounting businesses can save on data storage resources as data is stored and backed up by the provider. Also, they no longer worry about software and hardware updates.
The above trends are only a few among many that will ultimately drive the evolution of accounting practice in the future. For accounting students preparing to enter the field, the general advice holds that mastery of popular accounting software, critical thinking, data presentation skills and adaptability are among the top tech-related skills needed to succeed as an accountant. For those who may want to take an extra step, one American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) article suggests that learning to code can also be a big advantage for accountants in the future.
At William Woods University, Bachelor of Science in Accounting students are trained on how to leverage technology as accounting professionals. For example, in introductory accounting courses such as ACC240 and ACC241 – Principles of Accounting I and II, students are taught how to use software tools such as QuickBooks and Excel to summarize financial data and construct financial statements. In addition, the curriculum includes ACC413 – Advance Productivity Tools, a course that covers advanced skills involving the applications of spreadsheets, databases and word processors.
For students who may be interested in acquiring deeper coding skills, William Woods University also offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Management Information Systems, which students can choose as their second major.