A Survival Guide for In-House Accountants.

AuthorSimons, Tad

In-house accountants are understandably anxious about being caught in the crosshairs of technological change. After all, better software and improved machine learning are automating many basic accounting functions, and stricter managerial scrutiny has put many in-house teams in the unenviable position of having to defend the accuracy, efficiency, and value of their work.

Doing one's job while simultaneously trying to keep it is no fun, of course. To prove their worth, in-house accountants need to embrace recent advances in enterprise software and take maximum advantage of its capabilities. They also need to establish a new value proposition that moves the accounting function to the forefront of the corporate decision-making process, where it can occupy its rightful place as a core contributor to the success of the enterprise.

What follows are several steps that in-house accountants can take not only to ensure their survival but also to reinvigorate their work and expand their sphere of influence.

Accept the Inevitable

There is no way around it: Technology will continue to disrupt and transform the accounting profession, making adaptation imperative. Everyone knows this, but few know precisely how to do it. The first step is to envision a practical approach to a more hopeful future--one aided by new technologies that are specifically designed to enhance accounting's contribution to organizational success.

Action step: Learn to accept and embrace change. Otherwise, you'll be miserable.

Seize the Power

Because so many basic accounting functions are being automated, enterprises expect (and need) their accountants to step up in other ways. Well-designed enterprise software can be customized to fit the needs of any business, and the additional capabilities these programs provide--in terms of workflow efficiency, flexibility, cross-platform integration, reporting, analytics, and security--can help forward-looking accountants expand their professional toolkits. There is power in these programs, so seize it.

Action item: Ask if, how, or whether the technology you are using is ideal for your business.

Master the Technology

Despite all the dire warnings, in-house accountants are actually in an ideal position to leverage the power of more sophisticated enterprise software systems and improved data analytics. Why? Because they have access to, and responsibility for, the most important data of all--a company's financial. That treasure trove of data...

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