Pacific Accounting Review
School of Business and Law
Technological advances have led to accounting roles shifting from transaction focussed tasks to using data generated by technology to inform stakeholder strategies, resulting in changing skill requirements. This study aims to investigate how early career accountants (ECAs) and organisations value different skills among ECAs, how technology is impacting on these skills and the preparedness of ECAs for future technological work in different organisational settings.
The research adopted a multi-stakeholder, mixed-method approach, surveying 315 ECAs and 175 managers/recruiters and interviewing 10 from each group. The sample drew from different industry sectors and organisation types in Australia, with all states represented.
There was broad agreement among ECAs and managers on requisite skills for technology. Most ECAs and managers believed new technology is influencing the skills required in accounting, yet the impact was considered greater among ECAs and effects varied by organisational setting. Overall, the research did not support ECAs as “digital natives” and illuminated the importance of exposure to technology, a change mindset and lifelong learning to better prepare them for new technology.
This study makes an important contribution to understanding how and why skills for success in accounting are evolving in the context of new technology and how prepared ECAs are for technology from both their own and managers/recruiters’ perspectives. It highlights the need for greater dialogue, benchmarking and evaluation of performance in technology-related skills among new accountants and their managers. Further, it identifies areas where ECAs would most benefit from targeted support, aiding personal career success and organisational competitiveness.
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