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Our Thinking - 06 12 2023

Challenges and future trends in UK accountancy

Babington Marketing

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Why is the UK accountancy market so dynamic and how can you adapt?

The UK accountancy market is facing a period of change and adaptation. Accountants must stay informed and adaptable to ensure their continued success in this ever-evolving landscape. With the right skills and mindset, they can navigate these challenges and embrace the opportunities for growth and innovation.

The UK accountancy market is currently in a state of flux, with many changes and challenges on the horizon. With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, traditional accounting roles are seeing a shift towards more advisory and strategic roles. This presents both opportunities and challenges for accountants as they navigate this changing landscape.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the accountancy market. The sudden shift to remote work and the economic downturn has forced accountants to quickly adapt to new ways of working and provide additional support to their clients, particularly small businesses.

Did you know?

  • There are 94,000 accountancy firms in the UK (Iris.co.uk) – plus innumerable accounting departments
  • 49% of accountants have changed their jobs in the last 2 years (Sellick Partnership)
  • Skills shortage means that smaller firms in particular struggle to recruit and stay competitive

Despite these challenges, there are also opportunities for growth. The rise of technology has opened up new avenues for accountants to provide value-added services, such as data analysis and forecasting, to their clients. There is also a growing demand for ethical and sustainable business practices, presenting opportunities for accountants to offer guidance and expertise in these areas.


Skills shortage
The accountancy industry in the UK is facing a significant skills shortage, particularly in the areas of auditing, taxation, and advisory. This shortage is due to a combination of factors, including an aging workforce, increased demand for specialised skills, and the evolving nature of the industry.

According to a study by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the UK is facing a shortage of approximately 60,000 accountants by 2050


Aging workforce
Many experienced accountants are reaching retirement age, creating a gap in the talent pool. At the same time, there is a growing demand for specialized skills in areas such as technology, data analytics, and sustainability, which many current accountants may not possess.


Evolving nature of the industry
As mentioned earlier, traditional accounting roles are shifting towards more advisory and strategic roles, requiring a different set of skills and competencies. Many accountants may not have the necessary training or experience in these areas, leading to a shortage of qualified candidates.

To address this shortage, it is essential for the industry to invest in training and development programs for both new and current accountants. This will not only help bridge the skills gap but also attract more young professionals to the industry.


Future trends

One of the biggest future trends in UK accounting is the continued integration of technology and automation into traditional accounting roles. This will lead to a shift towards more advisory and strategic roles, as accountants use technology to streamline processes and provide more value-added services to their clients.

Another trend is the increasing demand for ethical and sustainable business practices, which will require accountants to have a deep understanding of these issues and be able to provide guidance and expertise to their clients.

Additionally, with the rise of remote work and globalisation, there may also be an increase in virtual and cross-border accounting teams, requiring accountants to have strong communication and collaboration skills.

Overall, the future of UK accounting is likely to involve a combination of technology, sustainability, and adaptability, creating a dynamic and ever-evolving industry.


How can Babington help?

Babington, as a leading training provider for the accountancy industry, can play a crucial role in addressing these issues and preparing accountants for future industry trends. With an extensive range of apprenticeships and training and development courses that not only cover technical skills, but also focus on soft skills such as communication, leadership, and adaptability.

Moreover, Babington’s partnership with industry organisations and employers allows for a deep understanding of the current and future needs of the industry, ensuring that its training programs are relevant and up-to-date.

Watch our recent expert-led webinar below, discussing changes to learning standards with AAT and how these impact and can improve your business.

View our Accountancy Brochure to find out more

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