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Curt Finch, Journyx

Four Ways Accountants Must Adapt to Thrive


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In today’s work world, many careers have the impression of being cool or fun or more fast-paced. For example, in the world of technology, programmers often get the credit for being adaptable, keeping up with modern advances in the industry, and shifting their methods to match technological advances. However, the common stereotype of the accountant and their job is typically boring and tedious. However, the reality is that the accounting industry is changing rapidly. With those changes comes a need to adapt to an ever-evolving landscape.

Two contributing factors to this change are underlying shifts within the workforce in general, as well as the advent of powerful tools that give accountants new and improved ways of doing their jobs. Given these changes, accountants must adapt to remain relevant. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top four areas where this is critical.

Interconnectedness

One of the main trends changing the workplace is interconnectedness. It's been said there are only six degrees of separation from any two people but, in the modern age of interconnectivity, that may be a conservative estimate. What effect does this have on the modern accountant? It makes it more important than ever for accountants to be outgoing and put forth the extra effort to engage their coworkers.

According to a study by Concordia University of Saint Paul, extroverted accountants, "not only like their jobs more, but they were almost always among the most successful and were most often promoted to supervisor or managerial positions."

With the rise of social media and professional networks, another side-effect is that we rarely part ways with a co-worker; contact with an individual often goes far beyond a job change. This makes it imperative to work hard to maintain good relationships with the people we work with.

Remote Workers

According to a study by the New York Times, "telecommuting has risen 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now makes up 2.6 percent of the American work force, or 3.2 million workers, according to statistics from the American Community Survey."

How does this affect accountants? It can be a real challenge to communicate with and manage remote workers. If there's a question about an employee's hours, it may not be as simple as walking down the hall and asking them. This makes it more imperative than ever for accountants to stay up-to-date and well-versed on the tools they're using. Software, such as Microsoft Dynamics and Azure, include features designed to manage remote employees, features that only work if accountants are familiar with them and can properly use them.

Rise of BYOD

Closely related is the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace. With the increasing popularity of Macs, and the strong preferences the iOS and Android platforms engender, many companies are opting to save money by allowing their employees to provide their own devices. While a BYOD policy can certainly save money in the short term, there may be long-term costs that aren't apparent until it's too late. Who will have access to the device when the employee isn't using it for work? Will there be sensitive data stored on the device? Are there proper safeguards in place in case the device is lost or stolen? Often these questions are ignored until an incident occurs. In reality, these are policy issues that should be addressed from the outset.

This is another area where Microsoft has taken the lead, rolling out features, such as two-factor authentication, to support BYOD workers while protecting company data, as well as functioning seamlessly across platforms and operating systems.

Not only will this feature be available in the release of Azure, but it will be readily available to all Microsoft Dynamics users hosted in the cloud – whether you’re in GP, AX, NAV or CRM.

Once again, this may require accountants to step outside their comfort zone and wear multiple hats, training individuals on how to log in and track their time and answering questions when issues arise.

Outsourcing

As companies look to cut costs, outsourcing projects and staff continues to gain traction as a viable option for many. Here again, there are long-term costs that are often ignored. As with the previous two issues, security is often one of the first casualties. Another is any semblance of a normal workday schedule.

One of the advantages of Microsoft Dynamics, particularly as it moves into Azure, is the seamless way it handles the technical aspects of a multi-national, multi-cultural work force. According to The Enterprise System Spectator, “Microsoft runs Azure data centers worldwide and can move customer systems and data between them as needed. Hosting partners do not have this capability, unless they are utilizing a true cloud IaaS, such as Amazon's EC2. The move to Azure is therefore a better choice for organizations that are running separate instances in different parts of the world.”

Once again, accountants often find themselves on the forefront of these changes. Whether it be different time zones, different languages or various cultural challenges, the accountants who can adapt, use modern tools to assist them and engage their coworkers, regardless of where in the world they may be, are the accountants most likely to succeed.

As with anything in life, the workplace, trends and technologies surrounding us have a dynamic effect on the way accountants operate, pun intended. These four areas are just a few of the many ways that accountants have had to adapt, and will continue to do so as the landscape continues to change.

How have you found your ERP System has afforded you the ability to change with the shifting technological landscape? Let us know in the comment section below!

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.

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