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Fintech beckons ambitious accountants, report finds

Technology

Rapid expansion of the sector sees more demand for accountancy skills.

By Tony Zhang4 minute read

Fintech offers huge opportunities to accountants whose skills are in demand across a range of roles including regulation, finance, management and strategy, according to a report by two professional bodies.

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The report, based on a survey of 5,700 CA ANZ and ACCA members as well as interviews and case studies, found accountants with “an openness to change, a flexible mindset and a willingness to pivot to changing needs in a fast-paced industry” will find plenty of opportunities in the sector.

CA ANZ chief executive Ainslie van Onselen said the broad expertise of professional accountants made them ideal for fintech, which covers everything from neobanks to application programming interfaces (APIs), to cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens.

We see tremendous opportunities ahead for accountancy and finance professionals in fintech – particularly in driving trust through assurance and clarity of financial information with emerging norms in corporate reporting, she said.

“It’s an unfolding landscape to be explored.”

The report, Fintech state-of-play: opportunities for finance professionals, examined 10 different job roles for accountancy and finance professionals within fintech, spanning CFOs to auditors to digital transformation experts and entrepreneurs.

Of those surveyed, 50 per cent see career opportunities for themselves in fintech while 26 per cent are undecided and the remainder either don’t know or do not envisage working in the sector.

Respondents were keen to see government interventions to support fintech adoption, including building links internationally to learn best practice (86 per cent) and working with education partners to improve skills and training in fintech (85 per cent).

It also found accountants would face challenges around cyber security risks, along with emerging standards and regulations.

ACCA CEO Helen Brand OBE, said there was a diverse range of fintech activity already out there and more were being developed. 

“And accountancy and finance professionals can be a part of the fintech world, if they are not already,” Ms Brand said.

“In fact, they are needed more than ever in this still relatively nascent industry – their expertise, knowledge and ethical lens are invaluable.”

To help them the report recommended that accountancy and finance professionals could start building awareness of the products and services within the fintech landscape globally and the competitive dynamics that would shape it looking ahead. 

“Accountants can understand the regulatory considerations pertinent to the areas of fintech they’re exploring,” the report said.

“In many instances (particularly for emerging areas like cryptocurrencies) there is a need for those who can help to shape the standards and regulatory treatment.

“They can reinforce innovation and a purpose-driven mindset. Fintech is extremely fast-paced and dynamic, and benefits from individuals who are excited about new ideas that can drive sustainable value; and who can pivot fast to changing business requirements.

“Regulators should also prioritise secure data management and cybersecurity at the heart of frameworks for government and regulatory approval given the concerns highlighted.

“There could be various ways to drive public confidence in this regard such as government-backed certification schemes for fintech services and products – particularly those that are B2C to protect end users.”

Governments should also incentivise fintech innovation and growth. The report found fintech was an industry that attracted talented people and helped develop high-skill jobs.

It also aligned with government and privately funded research programs, such as those led by major universities and technology developed for fintech could catalyse other sectors, such as health.

“We therefore call for governments and regulators to consider these approaches, to prioritise these areas identified by accountancy and finance professionals globally,” Ms Brand and Ms Olsen said.

“It’s clear from our research that a massive collaborative effort is needed here. It’s also clear that professional accountants and finance professionals can and do have a valuable part to play in the fintech world.”

Fintech beckons ambitious accountants, report finds
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Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang

AUTHOR

Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.

Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.

You can email Tony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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