Careers

What will the job market look like in 2025?

Mar 01, 2021

The accountants of tomorrow are facing very different prospects than those of the past. Here is where the profession is likely to take you in the years after qualification.

Lots of things are going to change when it comes to the future of work, but there are three areas, in particular, that are going to have an incredible impact on the careers of accountants over the coming decade.

Automation

Automation is here, and it’s a game-changer. Big 4 consulting teams in the areas of business process transformation are ramping up globally as companies, big and small, begin to heavily invest in automaton. In the not-too-distant future, it’s not going to be good enough to be able to just do the debits and credits. It’s going to become more about using the numbers to help the business make better decisions. 

As a result, the accounting profession will be filtered into one of two routes: project/change management roles overseeing the implementation and development of automations and finance business partnering roles, as the numbers that come out the other end of the automations will still need to be interpreted and explained to the business.

Sustainability

Everyone knows that climate change is going to take centre stage once the pandemic subsides. It will likely become the number one strategic priority for most product-based businesses (and many service-based ones, too!). From redesigning supply chains to transforming from shareholder to stakeholder value orientations, companies will need finance professionals to play a key role in developing the financial models to achieve these new strategic priorities while ensuring the long-term viability of the businesses themselves. Accountants will play a key business partnering role in this evolution.

Did someone say data?  

Over the coming decade, accountants will be faced with the reality that it’s not just about financial numbers anymore – it’s about both financial and non-financial numerical data and how they interact and impact each other. 

For the accountants of tomorrow, it is going to be about occupying this new space, where Excel ends and where Power BI, Tableau and other tools begin. It’s going to be about making sense of large data sets, gleaning information from them, using that information to derive insights and using those insights to inform strategic and tactical decisions. Data runs through sustainability and is wed to automation. The accountants that invest in their analytics skills and make it their business to get experience in some of the emerging tools will be the ones that end up having the greatest impact.

If you’re going to qualify as an accountant in the coming years, then your future is going to look very different to that of the last generation. It will be more about business and less about accruals; more about how financial and non-financial numerical data interact and less about statutory reporting; more about soft skills and less about consolidations. 

For some, this will be exciting. For others, it will be intimidating. But, for all, it’s a reality. And, for everyone, it’s an opportunity.  

Ed Heffernan is the Managing Partner of Barden.