We’ve been talking a lot about AI in the accounting department in the last few weeks, and as a controller or accounting leader, you may see value—but naturally have doubts. It’s only a matter of time before it does get smart enough to expand into your job role, right?
Not for a while, but now that you have a bit of free time, it might be time to use that free trial of LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare to your advantage. With taxes filed and with coronavirus fears shutting down businesses, you might notice you have a couple hours of downtime over the next three weeks to learn a few things, refine some skills, and reinforce your value.
Knowing this, it might be time to learn a few new tricks so that when the robots do come, they’re not out to take your jobs. Here are just four skills to reinforce your value even after AI comes for you:
Communication: Learn to Translate Accounting to Business
As robots continue to automate everything from the monthly and annual close to the analysis factor in financial planning and analysis, organizations will lean more heavily on finance professionals to take the outputs and present them in a way that even the least tech-savvy CEO or CMO can understand.
You will take on the role of facilitator and communicator, sharing with other business leaders what something means, explaining how it affects the company, and recommending the best paths of action.
Management: Learn How to Talk Tech
With companies adopting AI at an increased pace, your younger hires growing up in a technology-first environment, and the increased likelihood finance will have its own technology teams, you’ll be working with new types of people. For this, you will need to learn new management skills and rethink the way that you work with different teams.
Vision: Understand Long Term Impacts
With day-to-day tasks like transaction processing being taken over, you will need to be able to unleash your inner CFO—taking the results and recommending short- and long-term actions. You will need to develop a department and company vision, and use all of the newly-available data to your advantage.
You’ll have more access to information than ever, and deeper insights on drivers and components of macro numbers. Being able to build a vision and action plan around this will position you for success.
Creativity: Know That It’s Not a Dirty Word
Accountants are trained to think pragmatically about numbers, and have spent most of their careers conforming to generally accepted accounting principles, regulations, and standards that have made “creativity” a dirty word. Sarbanes-Oxley came as a result of creative accounting.
But in today’s business, you have to learn that creativity isn’t a dirty word and that thinking creatively won’t mean creative accounting. Creativity, much like communication, will rather be an important way to separate yourself from the robots—allowing you to demonstrate your ability to take results and make recommendations.
Learning to Learn: Find Out How to Become More Flexible
Ai is going to change the roles and responsibilities of accountants, and the aforementioned four skills will only do so much to keep you ahead of your computer-powered competition. The ideal individual has a combination of technical and digital skills, business skills, people skills, and leadership skills. Behind or underneath all of that is a mindset of constant learning.
Learning to learn is hard—especially when your job description features a very stable learning environment in the form of continuing professional education courses. You need to apply all the aforementioned skills to your learning mindset.
Follow the Controllers Council for All the Latest
As the world continues to change in the accounting field, it pays to stay ahead of the curve one way or another. We launched the Controllers Council to help those in the controller seat or aspiring to be there to grow their roles and succeed. Follow us for all the latest. Check out the other articles in our AI series: