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As chartered accountants, we have a duty to keep our knowledge and skills up to date in order to lead businesses into the future. With an increasingly challenging business environment, most organizations are turning to new technologies as a solution, including accountants.

While this presents greater opportunities, there is also a new set of risks that we need to help businesses manage. Digital technology has transformed our lives, shaped the way we live and work, but the pace of change and the implications for all of us, personally and professionally, have only accelerated.

This offers many opportunities for companies – reducing travel and physical office space expenses and opening up the possibility of improving employee well-being and productivity through hybrid work models. But it also brings challenges, such as an increased risk of cyberattacks and a more fragmented work culture as meetings and team building go virtual.

This is part of a broader, longer-term trend of digital transformation, which has seen the increasingly sophisticated development and use of AI and automation technologies.

ways of working

But what does all of this mean specifically for chartered accountants? How will the roles we take on be directly impacted, and how can and should we adapt?

Of course, chartered accountants perform a variety of tasks – not all of which can be replicated by technology – which means technology will reshape rather than replace what we do.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for accountants is growing and will continue to do so, with the number of jobs for accountants and auditors expected to increase between 2019 and 2029.

Artificial intelligence and automation, in particular, have inevitable implications for some sections of the human workforce, as these technologies are able to perform some of the most manual and repetitive tasks faster and with greater great precision.

However, they cannot replicate attributes such as leadership, skepticism, or professional judgment – ​​those more valuable skills that chartered accountants remain uniquely positioned to provide. As a result, it’s likely that much of what we do will actually become even more valuable than before.

So our roles will not diminish, but they will change. These technologies will allow us to invest more time in these critical areas. We should not resist these technologies, but seek to understand and embrace them as a way to improve the way we interpret data and develop strategy.

Economic changes

Along with changes to our own working practices, we also need to be more aware than ever of the broader influence of digital technology on the economy and on the businesses we serve – the benefits of cost reductions and improved efficiency to the challenges of increased risk exposure and new regulations.

The traditional business market is changing, with virtual goods growing exponentially, and this will impact many of the business models we work with and in.

The UAE’s post-pandemic recovery incorporates this thinking, seeking to develop talent for the future and with a long-term plan to be a leader in emerging technologies through its digital economy strategy.

The move towards an increasingly digital future will mean the emergence of new opportunities and risks, and with that a need for the expertise of accountants to ensure these are accounted for and managed. effectively.

Specifically, as the UAE liberalizes its approach to cryptocurrencies, chartered accountants will need to play an advisory role to mitigate the risk of money laundering and other illicit activities.

The future is now

Technology has long been central to auditing and accounting, and will be more so than ever. As digital technologies continue to evolve, so too will our profession and the businesses in which and with whom we work.

Chartered Accountants will need to develop and maintain their expertise and be ready to adapt, in order to support economic growth, deliver even more value to businesses and ensure that we can continue to apply our high technical and ethical standards. in a digital world.