Lack of Blockchain and AI specialists holding back Scottish accountancy sector

SCOTTISH companies are struggling to recruit accountants with high-level expertise in blockchain technologies and AI who can supercharge C-suite decision-making and increase profitability.

These emerging technologies and advances in the automation of financial planning and analysis have changed the face of modern corporate finance, placing chartered accountants in an essential central role.

But the shortage of suitably qualified professionals in a candidate-driven market is pushing companies to consider candidates with the right skills outside of financial services.

The findings have been highlighted in Core-Asset Consulting’s seventh annual Salary Guide to Scotland’s crucial financial services sector. The report is a forensic examination of current salary levels and a guide to key developments professionals should be aware of.

David Lindores says cloud-based technology has “changed corporate accounting practices forever.”

The accounting and finance part highlights the crucial contribution that blockchain, AI and BI (Business Intelligence) can make to meet the expectations of internal and external stakeholders.

It’s a view backed by East Kilbride-based cloud technology company Eureka Solutions, which sees tech-savvy accountants being aggressively sought after and returning as customers with new brands.

David Lindores, CEO, said, “Cloud-based technology, accessible from any device with a browser, has forever changed corporate accounting practices.

“Huge benefits are at hand: automating the procure-to-pay process, dramatically speeding up their month-end, eliminating paper-based processes, and planning reliable scenarios, to name a few.

“By seeking quality training from the right software partner, corporate accountants can improve their skills if they are willing to no longer rely solely on spreadsheets, but those who do not wish to stray from the “legacy” technology will be left behind.

“CFOs and CEOs realize that the finance function can add more value to an organization if they spend their time reacting to opportunities and making quick decisions, where technology provides accurate data, rather than spend their time checking them and fiddling with spreadsheets.”

Rachael O’Neill, Associate Director, Accounting & Finance at Core-Asset, said: “Businesses run on information and the faster information is received and the more accurate it is, the better.

“What started as a bold experiment, blockchains now operate with accounting technology at their core, focusing on transferring assets while maintaining a record of financial information.

Rachael O’Neill says Blockchain technology “is now having a significant impact on the industry”.

“Technology is now having a significant impact on the industry – and the ability to react quickly to increased automation of financial information and market trends gives companies an advantage.

“The results empower employees and managers to accelerate and improve decision-making, increase operational efficiency, identify new revenue potential and identify market trends, providing real-time analytics and financial metrics to internal shareholders or external customers at the click of a button.”

But the report questions whether accounting professionals are staying ahead of — or at least abreast of — technological advancements.

He says: “As we move forward into 2022 and beyond, the accounting and finance market will need people who can think globally, understand complex technical accounting issues and have a solid knowledge of industry reporting standards, with skills in business analysis and automation.

“Many companies are already operating with lean finance teams, which, coupled with an arguably even greater requirement for insightful analytics and reporting, will lead to an increased workload for many teams and individuals. Forward-looking business leaders may want to start by broadening the skills of their employees, training finance professionals to keep up to date with the latest advances. »

“The priority for many CFOs and CEOs in 2022 will be how to better leverage and interpret financial data and there will be a trend towards more strategic data analytics positions as businesses seek to stabilize post-pandemic. , plan organic growth or consider sectoral acquisitions.

The report recognizes a continuing demand for newly qualified accountants for five years of post-qualified experience with skill sets in this cohort that are highly portable and transferable across sectors.

Rachael added: “Tax, financial reporting and auditing can be relied upon to hire pressure points most years, and in 2022 it will be no different. A small number of professional practice firms now offer retention bonuses to staff in these areas in an effort to reduce attrition levels.

“Many companies will struggle to attract candidates with the desired level of technical expertise, and therefore strategy-driven recruiting strategies will be key to successfully navigating the candidate-driven marketplace. Companies that operate in financial services will benefit from considering candidates with skills outside of financial services, assuming they can demonstrate exposure to strong generic accounting experience.

Core-Asset is Scotland’s leading financial services recruiter, with access to information from thousands of applicants and top Scottish employers in the sector, which accounts for 7% of Scotland’s GDP.

Its annual wages guide is a report produced exclusively on the Scottish jobs market that compares wages and jobs in Scotland. The data and figures produced there paint a crucial alternative picture to the usual London-centric reports.

Always highly anticipated, the salary guide paves the way for salary reviews in the financial services sector in Scotland, which usually take place in March/April. It sets the expectations of those who award salaries, allowing them to benchmark themselves against other competing organizations.

Core-Asset Consulting was established in 2005. Based in Edinburgh, it is now a £14 million business employing 22 people and working across the financial services industry, from the smallest boutiques to the most major global players.

Initially, the firm built a reputation in the world-renowned asset management industry in Scotland. However, the success of its model has allowed it to expand across the financial services market. He now has dedicated accounting, investment operations and finance teams and also works in Scotland’s thriving legal sector.

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