Accountants are well-positioned to capitalize on the growing intersection between finance and technology, colloquially known as “fintech,” according to A recent report.
The report, compiled by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, in cooperation with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, found that about half of some 5,700 poll respondents, the majority of which were accounting professionals, said they saw career opportunities for themselves in fintech, particularly those under the age of 55. These responses come amid growing adoption of fintech services, the three most prominent of which were found to be mobile payments/contactless payments, online/mobile-only (fully digital) banking, and international/domestic money transferring.
The report noted, though, that fintech companies need specific conditions to be successful versus incumbent firms. Fintech companies need to offer a seamless user experience, be cloud-native and digital-first, have an innovative product range, access untapped demographics, be nimble and quick to adapt to new ideas, offer competitive pricing, and have minimal (ideally zero) physical presence.
In contrast, incumbent companies that can hold off competition from fintech providers will be those that have longstanding customers who are apathetic about change; well-embedded internal control and cybersecurity frameworks; perception of product safety; data insights from a wide base of existing customers; the ability to scale new ideas up quickly; brand name trust and recognition; and the ability to absorb regulatory costs.
Regardless of whether one is at a fintech company or an incumbent, though, the report noted that accounting professionals will need to be the ones to fully leverage advantages while minimizing disadvantages. It outlined how innovation can be implemented from the perspective of a CFO, a financial controller, an assurance provider, a transformation lead, a digital accountant, a regulatory expert, a tax advisor, a fintech strategist, an entrepreneur and a senior manager.
Regardless of role, however, the report said accountants will need, at minimum:
“Professional accountants are well placed to participate in this maturing sector,” said the report. “To grow and attract investment, fintech operators value those who can help them professionalize while maintaining their innovation ‘DNA.’ Whether in fostering trust in the numbers through audit and assurance, driving digital transformation or ensuring regulatory compliance, professional accountants can play a vital role and, in doing so, carve out new and exciting opportunities for themselves.”