Upskilling is the process of developing new proficiencies and upgrading existing skills. It’s what one does when they register for lessons with an ACCA training Dubai-based provider and proceed to get their ACCA designation.
What is upskilling like for an accounting and finance professional, and why must one do it?
Read on to find out.
What Does Upskilling Mean for Accounting and Finance Professionals?
Upskilling for accounting and financial professionals can involve developing or learning both hard and soft skills.
Hard Skills for Accountants
Hard skills are job-related proficiencies. The hard skills for accountants and finance professionals typically entail learning to use accounting software, like Intuit QuickBooks Online, or upgrading online accounting knowledge to include cloud accounting (say, Oracle NetSuite).
Of course, hard skills are not limited to the use of software. These days, the key skills for an accountant can involve certain concepts such as blockchain technology, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, among others.
For instance, an accounting professional can benefit greatly by learning to account for cryptocurrency, classify non-fungible tokens, and compute tax liabilities arising from these assets. They can learn to work with AI programs and make inferences using raw data.
Hard skills are not limited to advanced technology applications, either. They can be key technical skills for accountants such as taxation, financial reporting, payroll, accounts payable, audit and assurance, and financial management.
These are essential qualifications for an accountant, of course, so an accounting practitioner already has such knowledge. Even so, one can continually improve their knowledge.
Upskilling can do that; that is, help someone deepen and broaden their knowledge about a particular topic. For instance, one can enroll in a CIA training Dubai program to enhance internal auditing competencies.
Soft Skills for Accountants
Accountants and finance professionals also need to upgrade their soft skills. According to the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2019 report, 92% of professionals surveyed claimed soft skills are as significant as (if not more important than) hard skills. Furthermore, 89% said that new hires don’t work out because they don’t have critical soft skills.
What soft skills are crucial to accounting? Communication skills make the top of the list. Accountants work with data that they must clearly, effectively, and efficiently convey to different stakeholders with varying degrees of technical, financial knowledge.
Other necessary soft skills are creativity, flexibility, adaptability, and problem solving.
Why Upskilling Is a Must for Accounting and Finance Professionals
Do accounting and finance professionals really have to learn new proficiencies and upgrade their hard and soft skills? Isn’t this something one should do only if one wants to?
The answer is yes and no. Yes, an accountant must continually upgrade their skills; no, one cannot treat it as something optional.
The following are the reasons you must continue to upskill as an accounting and finance professional.
1-To Get Hired
The shift to digitalization and digital transformation initiatives means digital skills have become more important. According to Matt Weston of Robert Half UK, 71% of employers have reported that finding candidates with digital skills is difficult.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a job and wish to stand out, you must have the digital skills relevant to accounting and finance.
This is especially crucial if you are rejoining the job market after a long hiatus. Potential employers will find your past job experience valuable. However, the field of accounting and finance would have hardly stood still while you were on break. If you don’t upskill to learn new technologies, how can you compete with your less experienced but more digitally skilled competitors?
2-To Get Promoted
The most skilled and most advanced member of a team is typically the one most suited to lead. When you upskill, you can stay ahead of the curve and become the person with the broadest and deepest knowledge, suitable for a leadership position or one that entails more responsibilities.
3-To Keep Your Job
Upskilling will improve your job security. If you focus on learning new proficiencies your company needs and values, you will continue to remain a valued team member. As you learn new skills or as your skills improve, you will remain relevant to your company as its processes, systems, and workflows evolve.
4-To Maintain Your Charter
If you are an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants member, upskilling is a definite requirement for keeping your charter membership.
Passing your exams and earning your ACCA designation is proof that you have the technical skills required of a chartered accountant. However, earning continuing professional development units will prove you have what it takes to remain one.
Specifically, most chartered accountants must complete 40 CPD units (21 verifiable and 19 non-verifiable) annually to maintain their ACCA membership. These CPD units are learning activities that must enhance and develop your technical skills. For chartered accountants, keeping their knowledge and competencies current is crucial to remaining relevant.
Upskilling: No Longer Optional
Upskilling is necessary for four reasons: for employment, promotion, job security, and charter membership. Additionally, it can improve your confidence and boost your productivity.
Whatever your reason, know this. As an accounting and finance professional, you must upskill. If you don’t, the gap between what you know and what the market demands will widen, and you will get left behind.
PhoenixFT offers financial training courses that can help you obtain your Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Chartered Financial Analyst, or Certified Internal Auditors designation. Contact us to learn more about our courses.