The Accounting Profession in a Digital Age
Undoubtedly, the accounting profession is one of the professions that were worst hit by the global pandemic of 2020. We are living in a digital age and experiencing the fourth industrial revolution. If there is one thing that the unprecedented covid-19 pandemic showed us is that accounting professionals are as much essential workers as healthcare professionals. When the pandemic struck, businesses changed their way of doing things with the majority being forced to either shut down or take up telecommuting. Most people began working from home and the accounting professionals had their work cut out as they could not just shift their operations online overnight as majority of their work requires a in-person and physical presence to complete.
Challenges of the Accounting Profession from Various Points of View
The pandemic had a different effect on the lives and experiences of various professions in the accounting field. For a student that was undergoing accounting-related studies, the pandemic disrupted their lives by limiting their ability to go through internships and attachment programs. It is a mandatory requirement that accounting students go through at least three months of internship at company’s of their choice to gain practical field practice (Qasim and Faten, 110). The pandemic limited the ability of students to find organizations that could offer them internship opportunities. This is because most organizations were not hiring as most either laded off employees to cut administration costs or worked from home because business was not doing well. To avoid similar situations for accounting students in the future, students should begin embracing technology early and learning all there is to know about telecommuting so that it is easy for them to cope with an unpredictable situation such as those brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. For the global citizen, the biggest impact of the pandemic was the loss of income brought about by job cuts and slow business due to lockdowns and isolation. To mitigate the challenge people should take up more saving habits and find alternative sources of income to get them through the rainy days.
External auditors were at a disadvantage as they had to deal with heightened challenges posed by covid-19 which they had not encountered before. Majority of external auditors that had to travel across cities, states, countries, and continents were not able to travel as much because of the travel restrictions to prevent community spread. They had to either cancel or either reschedule their auditing days. To avoid a similar situation in the future, auditors should invest in technology and application that can enable them to carry out auditing remotely. SBA administrators were also affected because the pandemic limited their capacity to carry on with their accounting role of strengthening the country’s economy. This is because a majority of their work cannot be done remotely and also because they deal with lots of paperwork which makes it impossible to work from home. To mitigate this challenge, it is imperative that they begin considering digital migration as it will empower them to work remotely. The pandemic affected the politicians and particularly lawmakers by limiting their capacity to pass legislation because of social distancing measures that were put in place to reduce community transitions across the world. To address this there is need to incorporate technology in policy making.
Inequity in Distribution of Relief Funds for Small Business Administration
In regards to organizations that were awarded Federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to help cushion them from the adverse economic effects of the pandemic, a lot of backlash was encountered because of unfairness. Unfortunately, the reality of the matter is that the loans ended up being awarded to the undeserving business at the expense of small businesses. The lack of control and checks made it easy for businesses that were not eligible to be awarded loans of up to $107 000 (Zara, 6). For example, businesses like Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which is not a small business but rather a publicly-traded restaurant made it on the list. Noteworthy, the majority of the companies ended up returning the funds they received for fear of fraud charges and backlash.
Reflection and Personal Opinion
In my viewpoint, accounting is one of the most lucrative careers of all time. When covid-19 emerged, it proved to people that accountants are as much essential workers as healthcare professions. My point of view is that it is high time accountants invest in digital databases that are unique to their organizations to help them carry out their mandate in times like this. As a student, I think it is an ideal time for students to keep an open mind on the possibility of finding mobile jobs as times keep changing in the digital age that we live in. As a future accounting professional, I would like to broaden my knowledge on the impact of public policies on organizational finances. This area is of interest to me as it will teach me important lessons on governance and administration in general.
Qasim, Amer, and Faten F. Kharbat. “Blockchain technology, business data analytics, and artificial intelligence: Use in the accounting profession and ideas for inclusion into the accounting curriculum.” Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting 17.1 (2020): 107-117.
Zara, Christopher. “Here’S The Full List Of Companies That Received Paycheck Protection Program Loans Over $150,000”. Fast Company, 2020, https://www.fastcompany.com/90524719/heres-the-full-list-of-companies-that-received-paycheck-protection-program-loans-over-150000.