Accountants lack fulfilment and confidence at work

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Employers and employees need financial transformation for job fulfilment, survey suggests.

In a survey conducted with University of Georgia Consumer Analytics Program, accounting workflow automation software provider FloQast asked accountants about the current state of the profession, and how it might look were they in control. It also covered their fulfilment in their jobs and the tools and training they had received. Respondents included 284 accounting and finance professionals from individuals to organizations, varying in title, tenure, company size and IPO status.

Key insights

The survey data shows accountants’ ideal-on-the-job state, the role of technology in their future, and recommendations for their employers. It found that most accountants recognise that their employers need financial transformation to drive strategic business performance, and in many cases, a lack of on-the-job fulfilment gets in the way of that reality.  

Accountants who are more fulfilled by their job are more confident in their work

  • A little more than half (58%) are very confident in their work. However, that means 42% of accountants are not completely confident – alarming when taking into account the sensitive financials handled by accountants on a daily basis.  
  • Research indicates that 60% of accountants would give their fulfilment from the profession a C or lower. Only 5% of accountants would rate their fulfilment in their job as A+.  
  • When determining what creates fulfilment for an accountant, many echoed the same sentiment: finding solutions to the puzzles that arise at work, as well as contributing to the decisions in their organization, and being recognized for their contributions and ideas.  

Most accountants believe there are better ways to accomplish their jobs 

How they allocate their time in their job: Most accountants’ time is spent managing finance and accounting functions (16%), capturing and classifying transactions (14%), preparing and issuing financial reports (12%), and executing the Financial Close (13%).

However, respondents aspire to be more of a strategic partner, informing the organization in planning and projects, mitigating risks and ensuring that controls are in place to protect the organization. Unfortunately, one-third or less of accountants believe that their organization’s leadership sees them as a valuable strategic partner. 

How they do the work: When asked how they would approach their job differently if given the opportunity, accountants reported that they would like to set the strategic direction for projects (83%) and have more of an impact on the success of their organization (78%). Accountants believe that these activities and more could be possible with more reliable systems, more automation, and clearer processes that everyone understands and follows. 

How the technology can support the work they do: Accountants believe that having the right technology would mean that upstream and downstream processes would be better integrated with their work (76%) and the execution of their work would be solid (75%). In addition, technology would favourably impact company performance (75%), and they would be better equipped to make more strategic decisions (74%). Further, their company culture would even be stronger (67%). 

Financial transformation

Ultimately, accountants’ assessment of their environment, challenges, opportunities, and aspirations is consistent with the concept of financial transformation, the reshaping of the organization to unleash employee potential and achieve faster and more accurate insights that drive strategic business performance. Therein lies both a disconnect and an opportunity – 70% of accountants said that their company is in strong need of financial transformation.

“There is a massive opportunity to bring accounting into the 21st century by aligning accountants’ roles and responsibilities with their desires,” said Mike Whitmire, CEO and co-founder of FloQast, CPA. “FloQast exists because of my own desire as an accountant to add strategic value to the organization by automating basic, repetitive tasks. This dream to accomplish more still permeates the accounting industry.” 

This survey marks the fourth chapter of FloQast’s Controller’s Guidebook series.

AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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