To celebrate international youth day, The Accountant and International Accounting Bulletin asks professionals aged under 35 to share their thoughts on the profession: why they qualify as accountants, whether it was challenging and, now that they are in, how they see the profession and where it is going.
Baker Tilly France
I am a business school graduate with an audit and accounting specialization, I have also master’s degree in accounting, and I’m currently preparing the certificate to be a Chartered Accountant.
I chose this profession for the following reasons: first of all, you can practice in different forms either employed in a company (financial director for example), in an accounting firm or you can be self-employed. You can also teach business school students accounting. Plus, it is a profession with great diversity and it combines not only accounting but also tax, social and legal cases.
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Secondly, you can work in different sectors. For example, I work with dance organizations financed by the French Government, but I also work with trade unions and huge craft industries.
Moreover, you keep learning through your career and you need to be open minded about legislative changes, which is why I think it is a stimulating profession. Last but not least, the unemployment rate in this field in France is very low.
Our profession is controlled and benefits from a regulated brand. However, it still suffers from an old image and prejudices because a lot of people are not aware of its stakes. Some people think that we are only in charge of tax collections or that, we only inspect bills all day long. Changing the profession’s image is really important and will be our generation’s duty.
For me, the main difficulty of the job is the work organization because the workload is massive. If you manage your planning correctly, you can assume all legal obligations and satisfy your customers. You always need to be reactive. The certificate to be a Chartered Accountant is also a huge difficulty because it takes time and many personal and professional efforts are required.
The profession is evolving thanks to digital revolution, as well as for other professions. Internet platforms develop tools to make accounting easier for people/ companies and these are technical platforms, they don’t have other added value. So, our profession shouldn’t ignore this revolution and should work with it, to highlight the human skills, expertise and bring the advisory part that digital tools can’t bring.
We definitely need to develop this advice cluster which represents our real added value. We also need to diversify our activities by offering more full services, which are more and more requested by customers, not only for accounting but also in recruitment and training.
Our profession is evolving and competition is more and more intense. Accounting firms need to differentiate from each other and they are hiring new profiles to achieve that. To offer full services, they need not only technical knowledge, but also management, marketing, public relations and sales skills. Our generation must be aware of the professions evolution to adapt and take into account this opportunity. For instance, I work in an accounting firm which hired a salesperson. He has a master’s degree in accounting and is also able to sell our skills to customers, as well as bring us new customers from new channels.
Some accounting firms have decided to develop niche strategies. In a general way, being specialized allows firms to meet customer demands better. Personally, I decided to work in an accounting firm specialized in the artistic and cultural sector and I think it is a good way to combine my technical skills with a sector which I am interested in. Moreover, it can increase the attractiveness in the job market.