26 Sep 2016 12:16pm

Half of accountants plan to leave profession over automation fears

More than half (51%) of accountants are planning to leave the profession and set up their own business in the next five years due to the looming threat of automation, according to a new survey

Caption: Four in ten accountants worried that their jobs will become obsolete

The fear is even more prevalent among the younger generation of accountants, with 62% of those aged 18-30 planning to change careers for the same reason.

In addition, four in ten accountants are worried that advances in technology will make their jobs obsolete in the future – rising to 50% for those between the ages of 18 and 30, according to new research from global jobs board

Having the correct skill set is another central concern for accountants, who are aware their role has changed significantly in recent years. Four in ten admitted they are worried they will be left behind.

Almost two thirds (60%) of accountants would like to make a career change and swap to either industry or practice. Issues that are holding them back from doing so include the economic climate, lacking the right skills and fear of change.

Simon Wright, operations director at 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.”

He added, “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.”

The research entitled "Feel the fear at work and do it anyway?”, which interviewed 1341 accountants during August 2016, found four in ten accountants are currently looking for a new job, with more than a third (35%) searching for roles abroad.

Western Europe is the number one destination, with Australia and New Zealand climbing to third.

Closer to home, despite fears of financial services job losses in the UK, less than a fifth of accountants feel threatened by the UK leaving the EU and the impact it will have on their job.

Unsurprisingly, the interview process is not a favourite for accountants, so much so that 20% said it would stop them applying for a job. Meanwhile, a third said they dread networking events so much they pretend to be sick to avoid them.

Raymond Doherty


Related articles

More than 11 million jobs at high risk of automation

More than a quarter of business services jobs threatened by robots

Profession is “sleepwalking towards a cliff”

Automation puts one third of UK jobs at risk