There’s been a lot of discussion at the SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) about the future of accounting.

Says Saiba CEO Nicolaas van Wyk: “If there’s anything we can say with confidence it’s that the accountant of the future will be a completely different animal, skilled in technology and able to use it to the maximum. The accountant of the future will be more analyst than bookkeeper.”

Computers are taking over the grunt work, posting entries to the correct journals, and even lunch receipts (through apps like Receipt Bank) can be photographed on your smart phone and, bingo, posted to the entertainment journal. There’s less and less manual intervention in recording transactions and building the month end trial balance.

The real skill comes in setting up your business accounting system. After that it becomes routine. For a glimpse into the future accounting practice, look at the article we wrote last week on Wingman. That gives you a sense of where the accounting practice of the future is headed.

Van Wyk adds that one of the problems the accounting profession faces is the need to standardise the way accounts are reported, as defined in Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures (GAAP) and now IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Read more on Accounting Weekly.