Coding and the accountancy profession

Technology and digital skills are a core part of the accountant’s world. Digital adoption is on the rise, and accountants are increasingly being asked to leverage digital to enhance the value they bring, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in a new briefing paper called Coding: as a professional accountant, why you should be interested.

The paper explains why professional accountants should be aware of and interested in coding, which is a task most associated with developing solutions using technology. This is done in a programming language, of which there are many types – some in machine code and others very much like natural language, the latter being the focus of the paper.

Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru Wales, says: “Not every professional accountant may need to code, but even a basic understanding can add value to their organisations, help to differentiate themselves and open future career opportunities.”

Research amongst 992 ACCA members showed that although 57% had no knowledge of coding, 40% expressed an interest in learning. Looking ahead three years, none of the respondents wanted to remain without any knowledge of coding. And over that same time frame, six in 10 wanted to develop a basic knowledge, and a further one in four sought advanced knowledge in coding.

The paper contextualises coding to the accountancy environment, with an explanation of the benefits and barriers typically faced, and a case study on how it fits into the wider eco-system of skills relevant to the professional accountant.

Narayanan Vaidyanathan, ACCA’s head of business futures at ACCA concludes: “Coding can be a valuable skillset. There are various levels at which an accountant can get involved – from just a high-level awareness of what it is, to involvement as a user who can partner with specialists to more hands-on development of code itself.”

ACCA offers CPD courses across this spectrum: for those interested in a high-level introduction, Machine learning – an introduction for finance professionals will provide a business oriented view of AI. While for those seeking more hands-on training with Python labs, Machine learning with Python for finance professionals will be more appropriate.