There was an interesting article in the Australian online news recently that a few years ago would have been scoffed at without further thought. The article was titled: “Is coding the blue collar job of the future?” and suggested that using the analogy of the building industry, we not only need architects and engineers and designers but also a lot of builders and tradesmen.
The suggestion from this article was that the world of the future will need “an awful lot of coders do things like quality checking and just building very basic code”.
Interestingly for Australia’s slowing down mining industry, In Kentucky (USA) which was hit hard by de-industrialization they had 950 applications for the first 11 programming positions. Miners have attributes that are valuable in coders, being accustomed to deep focus, team play and working with complex engineering technology.
According to Deloittes analysis, digital disruption continues to change the role of technology across the workforce in the future, and demand for a further 100,000 ICT workers over the next six years. Some of these jobs will be filled by immigration or from the existing workforce, but there is still a gap.
Good news for accountants and bookkeepers are that the underlying premise to good coding is Math. It’s a foundational skill for ICT and programming which is totally transferable in a digital world.
If you take the time to glance away from your iPhone or other technological device when you are out and about, you’ll find a large percent % of the population are focused on their screens and content. And this can only increase. So a lot of the future of Australian accountants must also somehow be involved with this new age.
New skills for accountants, bookkeepers and financial planners will be required. Simply completing compliance year in year out until retirement isn’t a workable solution. And simply hiring/managing offshore workers at cheaper rates is just a temporary bandaid to the problem. A problem put off isn’t a problem avoided!
In speaking to an Australian business owner this morning, there is the ongoing comment that graduates and skilled accountants are hard to find, and the future is in moving compliance offshore and to the cloud.
During the phone call, the Australian accountant was moving his managers to spend 1 quality hour reviewing several hours of compliance work completed offshore, which means the Australian accountant spends more brainpower in a shorter period of time.
It was clear to this Australian accounting business owner that there is a greenfield opportunity for Australian accounting firm owners because in reality there is no playbook which explains what Australian accountants/bookkeepers are supposed to be doing when they aren’t doing compliance. The services just don’t exist yet.
However, spare time will be used to add value to clients. Whether this is assisting with accounting related (cash flow) forecasting or management, or Social Media management, or even coding, it’s clear that the future is online and offshore for Australian Compliance.