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According to new research, automation could put almost 50,000 accountants out of a job over the next 10 years. Accountants are just one of many at-risk jobs cited in the workforce data report compiled by Faethm by Pearson. The analysis uses billions of data points to make predictions about the job and skills landscape of the future. 

Topping the list for at risk jobs are finance brokers, stock market clerks and librarians (see the extensive list below).

As Faethm by Pearson’s chief data scientist, Richard George, told The Australian Financial Review. “We can determine what jobs are really at risk of automation … and the big thing is anything to do with routine tasks,”. So, for instance, if you’re an office worker whose primary task is entering in data, this job is not likely to exist in the future. 

Finance sector jobs of the future

An increasing number of traditional finance sector jobs are going to be affected. 45,800 future accounting jobs could be replaced by automation. Being aware of these changes gives companies and employees the opportunity to plan for the future. 

So how do you thrive and advance your finance career in a future of increased accounting automation? There will be still be plenty of opportunities for accountants, such as for those who are prepared to upskill or utilise their transferable skills. For instance, Cyber Security is a sector where accountants have transferrable skills and it’s projected to have huge growth. 

Focussing on working with and adapting to the automation innovations will be key. There are also certain skills that are (so far) impossible to automate to the same level of human capability. Developing these skills will help to future-proof your career. These include:

Communication – Employers place a very high value on excellent writing and speaking skills. These skills are vital for enhanced customer service and cross-departmental relationships.

Emotional intelligence  AI has a long way to go before it reaches the heights of human empathy and trust. Building client relationships and understanding the nuances of what they require necessitates employees with strong emotional intelligence.

Creative and strategic thinking – Automation over-standardises procedures, but oftentimes clients don’t want a one size fits all policy. Clients will seek out finance professionals who are able to plan for unexpected eventualities and look for opportunities.