Lost in Translation? The Required Vs. Actual Technology Skills of Accountants

Richard Busulwa*, Jacqueline Birt, Adrian Gepp, Grainne Oates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessionalpeer-review


Prior accounting research has investigated accountants’ required digital technology (DT) competencies and how they continue to be impacted by ongoing DT advancements. To this end, the literature has identified a diverse collection of required accounting DT competencies, including information systems management, data, emerging technology, digital transformation, and digital business-related competencies. These diverse competencies compartmentalize into two broad categories: the required knowledge of DTs relevant to accounting work, and the skills and abilities required to effectively use these DTs for accounting work. Focusing on the second category, we examine the gap between the DT skills currently required by the accounting profession, and the DT skills currently possessed by accountants. We first conduct an extensive literature review to identify the DT skills required by the profession, and then use survey research to investigate the extent to which accountants across different career levels, accounting functions, and accounting practice settings actually possess the required accounting DT skills. In summary, we find that most accountants rate their DT skills level below average, with junior accountants surprisingly having the lowest DT skills rating. We identify and unpack the skill areas accountants are weakest and strongest in across different accounting functions, accounting career levels, and accounting practice settings. And we discuss potential moderators and mediators of skills gaps. Our findings have important implications for accounting practitioners, employers, educators of future accountants, and professional bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDigital Transformation in Accounting and Auditing
EditorsArif Perdana, Tawei Wang
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-46209-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-46208-5
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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