With our network, we span just about every finance domain at hyphen. That includes the accountancy role. Finance consultant Evy Voortmans grew from her position as accountant to finance manager and now has 16 years of experience in accountancy. With her expertise, we look at the evolution of the accountant and what the future holds.
An evolution Evy witnessed from the front row. "We came from a paper-dominated job, but today we are in a digital world where almost everything is available electronically. First and foremost, digitisation has had a particularly profound effect on the organisation of accountancy. The systems and platforms we now work in are more integrated with the business, and through accounting or ERP packages we are connected to all our stakeholders."
The role of the accountant has also evolved significantly, or at least it should... "We are no longer the people who process bank statements or type in invoices. The accounting role has transformed from a strong executive role to a controlling and advisory role. The repetitive tasks are slowly disappearing, which is an advantage of automation. However, our job remains very dependent on the company where we operate."
Not every company is as far along in the digital shift, and consequently the advent of automation and its benefits. "There are firms that developed a digital archive 10 years ago but are still not working with it. The order form is sent via e-mail and they do not use a comprehensive ERP package..."
As a finance consultant, Evy sees it as her duty to address this gap. "The benefits of automation are numerous. It gives accountants more free time to really add value and fulfil their role as business partner. The accountancy role is changing from a fast-paced, executive task to one where controlled work of analysis and delivering quality insights are paramount. And it will become increasingly important given the ongoing transformation of organisations and demands of all stakeholders."
With that future evolution, Evy herself handles it quite flexibly. She considers her own role as a manager generalist. "I want to have as broad a package as possible. I only feel good, when I am deep in operations and know the details. That doesn't mean I need to know every tax article or update by heart, but I do want to know broadly what it's all about. That is why it is essential to have a career-long learning, updating, and discussion.
What changes are still coming to accountants? "The tax aspect in Belgium will always remain very important. It changes every year and as an accountant you have to keep up to date with this. I see a great future for accountants who specialise in tax compliance, both in VAT and corporate tax. After all, companies keep growing and mergers are never far away. A lot can still be gained from tax optimisation..."