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Looming threat sees majority of accountants planning to leave the profession and set up their business (six in ten within five years)

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Careers in Audit

Four in ten accountants are worried that technology and automation will make their jobs obsolete in the future (this rises to half amongst accountants aged 18-30), according the latest research published by global job board CareersinAudit.com.  The research entitled ‘Feel the fear at work and do it anyway?” was conducted amongst 1341 accountants during August 2016.  The research also revealed that eight in ten accountants are acutely aware the role of the accountant has changed over the past five to ten years, with four in ten accountants admitting they are worried they will be left behind because they are not armed with the right skill set.

With deep fear setting in about their future job prospects within the profession, the majority (51%)are now looking at setting up their own business in the future, with this percentage rising to 62% amongst accountants aged 18-30.  Six in ten accountants with entrepreneurial sights plan to set up their own business within five years.

Despite grave concerns about their role in the profession, less than a fifth of accountants feel threatened by Brexit and the impact it will have on their job.

Other highlights of the research included:

  • A third of all accountants fear the interview process (41% amongst accountants aged between 18-30).  A fifth of these accountants fear the process so much that it stops them from applying for jobs
  • Three in ten accountants dread going to networking events – some so much that they pretend to be sick and others admitting they feel uncomfortable and awkward in social settings
  • Six in ten accountants would like to make a career change and swap to either industry or practice. However nearly half (43%) admitted that issues are holding them back from making the move including the economic climate, lacking the right skills and fearing the change would not pan out as they envisaged
  • Four in ten accountants are currently looking for a new job – with more than a third (35%) stating their reason is to work abroad
  • Western Europe continues to be the top destination to work abroad, with North America becoming increasingly popular year on year.  This year saw Australia and New Zealand climb to the third most popular career hotspot.

Simon Wright, Operations Director, CareersinAudit.com comments

“Skills, skills and more skills are what today’s accountants need more than ever before. Whether it’s fear of one’s role in the profession, going for interviews, networking or moving across to practice or industry, accountants cannot be paralysed by fear and instead need to embrace change.

“Compared to even five years ago, today’s accountant needs to be armed with a much broader range of skills including management, business advisory, technology and new business development skills. 

“Now is the time for accountants to take control and ask their bosses for relevant training or get enrolled on courses to fill their skills deficit. If bosses are unwilling to help, then accountants should consider investing time and money outside their workplace or strike now and move to another company who will provide better career development support.”