What matters most in your working life?

IT is transforming client bases, globalising the economy and raising the greatest personal challenges for finance professionals.

So it’s no surprise three quarters of you believe the net is central to the successful development of your company. Worryingly, some of you don?t have desktop access to the web. As corporate policy this is shortsighted even suicidal.

Those of you working in business are more bullish about the potential of the net to improve procurement and reduce costs.

But almost all of you believe the internet will help expand your business and increase communications. In the public sector, 78% believe the internet will help increase uptake of their services.

However, access to technology comes at a price. Accountants in business and practice face information overload.

But the growth of IT and the internet bring with it the need for more training and most of you are crying out for guidance. IT skills are particularly sought by those in the smallest businesses and sole practitioners.

But traditional sources of training are changing. We asked those accountants who felt they had skills gaps where they would go for training.

Only just over half would look to their professional institute to address skills gaps. CIMA members are most likely to look to their institutes where they feel they need additional training, although they are more comfortable than the rest of you with their IT skills.

Not surprisingly those of you working in smaller businesses are more likely to look to your professional institute for training advice (55% of those in organisations with 2-249 employees), although sole practitioners are less likely to do so than the norm (41%).

Some 76% of those who would not look to their professional institute and who are in organisations with less than 250 employees would look to a specialist training organisation. Directors, partners and interim managers are likely to consider business schools.

Those of you who would look to inhouse training are more likely to be employees of larger organisations who are able to support such operations (71% of those in organisations with more than 250 employees).

But of those that do not look to their professional institutes, over half think the professional institutes should be doing something about offering skills training in these areas for them.

So where does that leave the institutes’ Their problems are compounded by the fact that in the face of the technological revolution the significance of regulatory issues is declining.

Despite this around 60% of you feel the role of your institute is relevant, but this is much less the case among those of you working in business. One in four said you made no use of any services the institute provided.

You weren’t short of suggestions on how the institutes can arrest their decline. More help for and attention to smaller businesses, more relevant training, more practical help, support and guidance and more focused information figured prominently. You also urged them to be more management and business focused.

Like you they will need to respond if they are to prosper in the new business climate.

What kind of accountant are you?

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