Digital adoption is on the rise, and accountants are increasingly being asked to leverage digital to enhance the value they bring, says the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 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.

ACCA head of business futures Narayanan Vaidyanathan said: “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 found that out of 992 ACCA members, 57% said they had no knowledge of coding, while 40% expressed an in interest in learning. Looking ahead three years, none of the respondents wanted to remain without knowledge of coding. For the same time frame, six in ten wanted to develop a basic knowledge, and a further one in four sought advanced knowledge in coding.

Vaidyanathan concluded: “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.”

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.

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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.