Gone are the days of the stereotypical ‘number-crunching’ accountant. Thanks to innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation and cloud-based technology, accountants have shifted their focus from transactional tasks to more strategic and advisory services.
Yet it’s not just the day-to-day functions of accountants that are evolving. In line with ever-changing business trends and global developments, there’s now growing demand for finance professionals in a range of specialty areas – many of which didn’t exist until recently.
What are the different types of accountants?
Business, accounting and finance qualifications have always laid the foundation for a variety of career paths. And while there are still the more traditional accounting jobs for public practitioners and tax agents, here are seven emerging career pathways that becoming a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) could lead to:
1. Forensic accountant
If you fancy yourself a bit of a sleuth, this might be the role for you. Forensic accountants are financial detectives who work on investigations linked to activities such as money laundering, fraud, bribery, civil disputes and embezzlement.
2. Crypto accountant
According to Roy Morgan research, as of April 2022, more than one million Australians (around five per cent of the adult population) owned cryptocurrency.
Unsurprisingly, many of these people (and businesses) are turning to specialist accountants to help them manage their cryptocurrency asset investments.
3. ESG accountant
Also known as sustainable accounting, environmental, social and governance (ESG) accounting involves measuring, analysing and reporting a company’s environmental and social impacts.
With many organisations now prioritising a sustainable approach to making money, ESG accountants are tasked with finding ways to ensure a company is both environmentally and socially responsible and profitable.
4. International accounting specialist
Global financial markets have never been more accessible. Many businesses looking to expand overseas are enlisting the services of specialist international accountants to help them manage complex tasks such as cross-border transactions, global trade agreements and foreign investments.
5. Counter-terrorism financial investigator
Much like a forensic accountant, but with an even more specialised focus, a counter-terrorism financial investigator uses their skills to take down the financial enablers of terrorism.
6. Start-up accountant
Australia has a thriving start-up scene; in fact, it currently sits in eighth place in the global start-up ecosystem rankings.
As more entrepreneurs take their ideas to market, businesses from all sectors will be looking for accounting support. Alternatively, with your strong business background and strategic expertise, you may wish to launch your own entrepreneurial venture.
7. Digital accountant
According to a 2021 report, the demand for specialist programming and data analytics skills has been growing for more than five years; for finance and accounting roles, this means that knowledge of programs such as Python and Scrum is highly sought after by employers.
Accountants are also increasingly being relied on by organisations to advise them about technology enabled business transformation.
Digital accountants are only set to increase in value as business operations continue to shift online.
Where can accountancy take you in the future?
Accountants in 2023 and beyond will have an abundance of choice when it comes to selecting their next career move.
With accountancy skills needed – and valued – throughout every sector, there will be strong demand for all different types of accountants, including types of future accountant that haven’t even emerged yet.