New research has shown that a huge number of accountants are planning to leave the profession because of the increasingly relevant role of technology in the sector.
Conducted by global jobs board CareersinAudit.com, the survey found that more than half (51 per cent) of accountants think they will leave the sector in the next five years. This was down to the threat of the future of automation and how it will affect those in the profession.
The study suggests that this fear is affecting the younger generation of accountants more than those who have been in the sector for a number of years. According to the research, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of accountants between the age of 18 and 30 wanted to change careers.
Entitled 'Feel the fear at work and do it anyway?', the study looked at more than 1,300 accountants during August this year.
Out of all the respondents, 40 per cent thought that technology would mean their jobs would be obsolete in the future. However, this rose to 50 per cent when only those under the age of 30 were taken into consideration.
It appears as though a lot of these concerns were the result of feeling as though their skills weren't enough to secure them a future in the profession.
Four in ten of respondents said they were worried about being left behind, with many accountants' role having changed substantially in recent years.
Simon Wright, operations director at CareersinAudit.com, said: “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.”
The research found that nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of accountants polled would either change their workplace or get out of the sector completely. However, there were certain problems that were preventing them from doing this, such as not having the right skills, the economic climate, and fearing change.
Four in ten respondents were currently looking for a new job, while for more than a third (35 per cent) these were positions in another country.
Mr Wright explained that the industry has undergone a lot of change in recent years, and that accountants need to have more varied skills than before.
He said: "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."