Oct 2017

The future of Australian Tax Compliance… Why Gen Y find it hard to engage

By: Odyssey Automation
Tags: Automation, compliance, employability, Gen Y

With Automation likely to impact compliance in the near future, and offshoring impacting compliance now, this week we look at Gen Y’s engagement with the future of compliance.

There has been plenty of discussion about offshoring and automation affecting compliance, and particularly where the new “Middle Managers” will be found in 3-5 years if graduates aren’t being engaged and recruited into compliance work areas.

We’ve previously blogged about automation having an 80% plus impact on compliance work, and offshoring having a small role in the work undertaken by Australian accountants.

With respect to automation, some reports comment that up to 40 percent of jobs (5 million jobs) are likely to be automated in the next decade or so. While it is more likely that initially particular tasks will be automated (transaction matching suggestions as we are seeing in bookkeeping systems), it seems in the longer term that there will be continued automation (auto transaction matching without intervention?), and we are on the cusp of seeing systems that can suggest or process without accountant / bookkeeping intervention.

The jury still seems out as to the extent to which automation will reduce the compliance burden of Australian accountants, but it is going to affect it. The only question is when and by how much.

Much of the brunt of the stress in these changes is being felt by the younger generation. If you ask a younger person about “what they want to be when they grow up” or what they are going to study, it seems somewhat conflicting to suggest students talk about or study for jobs that don’t yet exist. The angst of the younger generations is completely understandable.

It is perhaps a wonder that younger students are not critical of the outdated university system and the scarcity of employment opportunity for university graduates. It seems the same issues of the mismatch between education and work continually arise. The May 1968 events in France for example, where students commenced a demonstration that led to massive general strikes as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. The demonstration from the students perspective started with the disconnect between their university environment and what they were studying, and the lack of availability of jobs upon graduation.

However, we’re in a new century, and the radical change and revolution isn’t as physical or obvious as in the last century.

The revolution in Australia today, as in other countries, is still about the uncertainty of the future, and a questioning on the educational paths being offered. Certainly the question of validity and value of a university degree is facing many Australian graduates today, especially with the spectre of unemployment being readily apparent to university graduates.

It seems that it shouldn’t be a wonder that many are suggesting a push towards abandoning traditional educational approaches, and pushing towards Entrepreneurial endeavours. Coupled with the stardom and financial boons in being the next Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter “rock star”, or even creating the next Airbnb or Uber, then the mundaneness of the current university offering seems apparent.

At the same time, older generations have less risk in this time of transition as presumably they have mitigated risk through their age – they have less of their working career at risk – less “skin in the game”. And many already have mitigated other risks such as financial risk through being somewhat through their financial risk life. They have a house and a mortgage, and probably enjoy the odd avocado smash or two!

So maybe it might be time to hang back a bit from Gen Y bashing? And instead work harder to engage Gen Y in a realistic future.