Accountants have, for many years, relied on a set of skills that has changed little since double-entry bookkeeping first appeared. Even the growth of software-based accounting did little to drastically changed accounting practice, as the systems mostly mimicked traditional accounting with additional features, such as removing manual arithmetic and error checking being enhanced by the software.

However, cloud computing does bring in new ideas, and transforms accounting processes, becoming a real-time analysis tool in addition to the traditional accounting services. This new approach does mean those in the industry can acquire new skills, and just as importantly, put them into practice to improve customer experiences and drive innovation.

One of the critical new skills found in cloud computing is data analysis, offering new ways to use the data collected through accounting to provide a better picture of an organizations financial situation. Data analysis skills are in high demand beyond accountancy of course, in particular, big data analytics are driving many large organizations today, shaping policy and direction.

However, it is within the accounting industry, explicitly auditing, that such analysis skills could prove the most valuable. Within auditing today, things are rapidly evolving, and it is clear that big data analytics will play an increasingly important part of the auditor’s role, while cloud accounting will increasingly exploit the potential of analysis to offer more rounded, feature-rich product to customers.

In fact, this highlights the direction cloud accountancy has taken the industry, from clerical accountant to strategic accountants, using data to help policy and direction for even small businesses. Indeed, cloud accountancy is key to providing smaller firms with the big data analysis that large organizations enjoy today.

Skills learned in cloud accountancy could shape the business world of the future at all levels, with cloud accounting providing the data that powers it. This future also highlights another valuable skill set that those involved with cloud accounting today can build, and that is business analysis.

With cloud accounting providing almost real-time data to support decision making, more and more accountancy is merging with that decision-making support, which at its core is the business analyst role.

As the ability of cloud accounting to bring the data and analysis together, the more that it becomes an analysis tool integral to business progression. Those involved in the industry can learn how those choices are being made, refining the skills that are currently, and will continue to be, in high demand from clients with businesses of all sizes.

Finally, as demand for more innovation, new ideas and new approaches increases within the cloud accountancy industry, creativity will blossom within the accounting firms employees.

Creative approaches to the features cloud accounting can deliver, and the solutions it can provide, new, out of the box thinking that can transform the capabilities of cloud accounting, those are all needed, and the creativity behind those new approaches can be learned within the industry.

Cloud accounting has fundamentally changed what accountancy is for clients today, and with a range of new products and features, will dramatically change what accountancy professionals are tomorrow.