Professionals working in accounting and financing have been necessary for hundreds of years, and their job descriptions stayed relatively stable until fairly recently. With the introduction of the computer, however, their jobs changed considerably, and both accounting and financial professionals are now expected to have a much large set of skills than ever before. Today, these professionals must be able to deal with information in a much more fast-paced office environment than ever before. Here are three indispensable tech skills for accounting and finance professionals.
1) Basic Programming
Few in the business world have much programming experience, but the skill can save considerable time for those who know how to write basic programs. Since information is stored digitally, there is no reason to ever input information manually. The most effective way to write easy, effective programs is to use a dedicated programming or scripting language. Python, for example, can be learned over a few weekends, and the tools it provides are invaluable. Another option is to use programmatic features within software packages. While it is not a programming platform itself, Microsoft Excel can use many programmatic elements to automate the tabulations and calculations. Fortunately, there are a number of free and cheap weekend and evening courses being provided in large cities and at colleges around the United States, so learning how to program has never been easier.
2) Cloud Computer and Smart Devices
Anyone who has spent time in the business world has inevitably heard of the cloud or how tablets will change business. While the effects of these new technologies are not currently known, it is clear that they will have some impact. By learning how to operate smart devices and learning how the cloud works, accounting and finance professionals can ensure that they can keep up as businesses increasing adopt smart devices and cloud programs. Further, it is often up to these professionals to help education others in the office about how to properly use this new technology; while they are not officially part of the IT team or technical support workers, they will likely find themselves called upon for their input or assistance. Those who can provide this will solidify themselves as essential parts of the company.
3) Mathematical Programming
Increasingly, account and financing professionals are being asked to perform sophisticated financial analyses. While dedicated software can achieve this goal, understanding how these programs work can lead to the development of techniques better suited to clients’ needs. Some simple math programs will come easy to those with the math experience accounting and financial experts posses, and their power is tremendous. By finding ways to save their clients or employers money, these professionals can make themselves far more valuable. Independent professionals can use these skills to impress potential clients and land larger contracts when they can help save them considerable sums of money.
While accounting and financial analysis are often considered to be mundane jobs, those who work in these fields understand that they are far more than just human calculators. As their job requirements increase, these professionals will find their jobs become even more involved, but those who stay on top of developments and prepare for their shifting responsibilities will find opportunities for growth in the industry.
Robert Hanson is a personal accountant and guest author at Best Accounting Schools, a site with guides and resources to assist prospective students evaluate accounting degree programs online.