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The Young Accountants Workshop

What is digital transformation

Digital transformation is defined as "Integrating technology into all areas of business to change the operational model and the business's delivery of value resulting in digital disruption". In past few years, we have seen very interesting business models develop due to digital transformation with the most popular businesses such as Alibaba, Uber, Facebook and Airbnb being born.

Last week, Inspire Innovation Business Consultants in collaboration with the Lesotho Institute of Chartered Accountants (LIA), hosted a workshop that was aimed at education trainees and newly-qualified CAs on the impact of digitisation on the accounting profession.

Not only has digitalisation affected business models, but it also has a great implication on skills that professionals have to develop and what their roles in these digitised organisations will be.

Participants at the workshop were asked in a group discussion to reflect on what their jobs entails every single month, and it was quite clear from their responses that most of the tasks that they do are routine and standard tasks, that require little judgement or decision-making. Based on this, it was quite clear that the role of an average accountant in Lesotho will be affected by trends such as the integration of Artificial Intelligence and automation in an entity's finance processes, which are brought on by digitalisation.

Over 90% of the jobs that the participants did could be automated.

This means that in order to stay relevant, not only do professionals (Including accountants) have to understand the impact of digitalisation on their businesses and industries, they also have to understand how their jobs will be impacted and how they can skill themselves to be future-ready.

Investopedia defines the role of the accountant as one of "translating the complexities of finance into summary numbers that the public can understand". This definition may apply to the traditional accountant but an accountant working in the digital economy's role is to "translate the complexities of finance (and compliance) into insights that can be used for quality decision-making by various stakeholders of the business".

This means that digitalisation transforms the role of the accountant from one of generating financial information (as this can be done by machines) to one of taking the generated information and translating it into useful insights that can be used by different departments in the business, and by stakeholders outside of the business, to make future decisions.

According to EY, in addition to technical financial skills, the accountant of the future must also arm themselves with the following additional skills:

- Strategic thinking

- Business partnering and advisory

- Technological skills

The participants of the workshop were quite excited at the prospect of playing more strategic roles in their organisations, however most agreed that in Lesotho, digitalisation was still a far-off dream, with many organisations still opting for manual processes within the finance process. It was therefore a shared sentiment that for the role of the accountant to evolve to catch up with digitalisation, it would be necessary for finance transformation to take place.

Finance Transformation is a process that is defined by the CGMA, to entail achieving effeciency through the automation of data and report-generation, management of information through analysis and insights and providing accountants with influence and impact so that they can generate value for the organisation.

All in all, the workshop was a reminder that accounting is more than just book-keeping an organising financial information in a logical way. There is a lot more expected of us as accountants and we need to make sure that we ready ourselves to live up to that expectation. The future is indeed exciting.



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I am a passionate leader, accomplished professional and a mentor. I believe that nation-building depends on how well we build people. Therefore, my mission is to contribute to the personal, professional and leadership development of people to empower them to reach their highest potential.

I do this through a mentorship program that I founded and through this blog where I share principles I've applied and insights I've gained in the past twelve years of my career and leadership journey.

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