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Automation and the evolving importance of the “smart” accountant


With automation, artificial intelligence, and specialized algorithms, technology has reshaped the way work gets done in the business world. In accounting and corporate finance, robo-accounting can now handle routine tasks like bank reconciliations, invoice payments, and contract reviews.

But this is not bad news. As automation bots remove repetitive and tedious work, it opens up opportunities for accountants to perform critical analyses, to assist in planning and forecasting, and to add more value to the business. Less data collection, more problem-solving.

And, the demand for analytical skills will rise as companies seek new ways to remain competitive. Yes, accountants will still be responsible for the collection, organization, and verification of standard financial information; however, as technology provides faster access to more data, and as businesses derive more value from that data, the need to make sense of this information available will increase significantly.

Enter the “smart” accountant. With a mind built to analyze and connect data points, the confidence to effectively communicate in a concise and strategic fashion, and an understanding of how financial dependencies impact operations across the business, the smart accountant is an asset like no other.

Let’s take a closer look:

What needs to get done What the “smart” account delivers
Managing the machines.

  • What data is needed, when, how often, and in what format?
  • Even with AI, the robots need puppet masters who can ask the right questions.
Deep understanding of systems and processes.

  • An eye for efficiency that expedites data extraction, cleaning, and integration.
  • The voracity to verify information, pinpoint problems, and adjust processes
Data-driven decision making.

  • What does the data tell us, and what do we do next?
  • There’s now a science to predicting the future.
An analytical mindset fine-tuned for the business world.

  • Models that turn data into information, information into insight, and insight into recommendations.
Communicating with clarity.

  • What does this mean, and what’s important for me to know?
  • Streamlined intel makes everyone smarter.
Strong presentation and communication skills.

  • Synthesized analyses that are “right-sized” for the audience.
  • Expertise with data visualization tools that accommodate real-time manipulation.

The top-ranked UNC Master of Accounting program builds accounting and finance leaders with the expertise that firms and corporations are seeking and the skills needed to make an impact on day one. Students learn relevant, practical and up-to-date skills and knowledge, which include:

– A Data Analytics for Accountants course as part of the core curriculum, as well as the integration of data analytics tools and techniques throughout the curriculum
– A new Financial Analysis and Reporting concentration
– Advanced courses in spreadsheet modeling and accounting systems
– Technical business courses that provide additional context in finance and law
– Courses that leverage data visualization tools to build strong communication skills

Students learn from world-class professors with extensive industry experience, many of whom currently work in the field. They also receive specialized career support from experts in the accounting industry.

What’s your next career move?

The online Master of Accounting (MAC) degree from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School can give your career the boost it needs.

  • Flexibility: Evening courses and a pace you set
  • Reputation: World-class faculty and a top-ranked program
  • Support: A career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals

>> Learn more about the program.
>> View a demo of our live classes.
>> Join our next webinar.