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Avoiding a future where accountants are “left out of solving business problems”

Written on Apr 6, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Continual learning is embedded into the accounting profession, but it’s becoming more urgent than ever to upskill and reskill.  

“Your career doesn't stay static, and it doesn't stay the same,” said Tracie Miller, program chair of MS and BS accounting at Franklin University. “The business environment is constantly changing. Workforce development ensures that you have all the skills you need to be ready for the ever-changing business environment.”  

Miller joined the State of Business podcast this week to discuss what workforce development looks like for the profession. She said it’s risky to opt out of advancing technology. In today’s competitive professional environment, it means accountants will be “left out of solving business problems.” 

“There is going to be some other profession that comes in to solve those business problems for us,” she said.  

An area that Miller said will be essential for the profession will be data analytics, especially in terms of automation and visualization.  

“The other area that I'm seeing a lot of talk about is ESG,” Miller said. “There is just a significant amount of opportunity for accountants to be involved in that conversation.”  

One of the changes brought on by the pandemic meant that it’s now possible to learn almost anywhere, Miller said, you don’t need to attend an in-person course or be at a certain location to grow your skills. Professionals are now able to pursue the learning they’re passionate about with more flexibility than before.  

“Where I think we need to do a better job, is figuring out how to tailor that learning to the needs of the student and identifying and providing a tailored and customized learning approach,” Miller said.  

Learning through mentoring is also valuable, she said. This provides an authentic and engaging experience, and it might be a better path for some individuals than a more structured learning approach.   

“I'm a true believer in lifelong learning,” Miller said. “And I think if you don't continue to learn, you're not going to advance in your career, and you're not going to be able to provide solutions to your customers and your clients. And you'll be left out.”  

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