The future of accounting: 5 positions in high demand in the digital and AI era

By Robert Half on 7 July 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes

With the evolution of AI and digitalization, concerns about the future of accounting are growing. However, finance and accounting are integral to business activities and are in steady demand regardless of economic fluctuations and market changes. While digitization is likely to automate tasks such as manual sorting and expense reimbursement, the evolution of AI is also creating new demands in the accounting profession.

In this article, we will discuss the skills accounting professionals will need and the positions that will be in demand in the future as digitization and AI technologies further evolve.


Trends and future outlook 


Growing demand in the FP&A sector

Increased market competition and economic volatility are forcing companies to make more strategic decisions. This is driving demand for FP&A services that provide decision support to management teams based on analysis and forecasting of financial data. In addition, advances in digitization and AI are making it possible for FP&A operations to perform more sophisticated analysis and simulations. Firms are focusing on developing FP&A personnel by hiring personnel with accounting degrees and personnel with qualifications and soft skills related to accounting knowledge required for FP&A work, as well as by providing on-the-job training.

Impact of globalization

An increasing number of Japanese companies are becoming more and more focused on international corporate culture and investing highly in bilingual human resources. Today, Japanese companies still generally do not have an FP&A function, so they are adopting the structure of foreign-owned companies. As for accounting standards, an increasing number of Japanese companies are shifting from Japanese GAAP (JGAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Against the backdrop of this shift, Japanese companies are now actively hiring mid-career personnel from foreign-affiliated firms for mid-career positions, seeking new ideas and energy.

Digital technology and AI accelerated automation

The automation of AI and digital technologies is expected to have an increasingly diverse impact on the accounting profession. The main points are summarized below.

  • Digitization and Automation of Routine Work: Accounting operations are also becoming increasingly digitalized, including cloud-based paperless AP (Accounts Payable). AI and digital technology will continue to increasingly automate routine tasks such as repetitive work and data entry. This will reduce human error and work hours.
  • Streamlining Data Processing and Analysis: With the ability to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately, AI technology streamlines data management and analysis tasks in accounting departments.
  • Shift to expertise and strategic roles: Automation through AI and digital technologies will free accounting professionals from routine tasks and allow them to focus on more sophisticated work. The role of the accounting profession is expected to change as accounting professionals will be required to interpret data generated by these automated processes and contribute to strategic decision making.

These trends are expected to continue. Accounting professionals will need to make the most of AI while honing their own expertise and technical skills to keep up with the changes.

View more trends in finance and accounting


In-demand roles

The ongoing digitalization and the rapid advancement of AI are generating fresh opportunities for accounting-related roles. Positions that actively contribute to strategic decision-making and facilitate efficient business execution are garnering significant interest. Following are five accounting and finance positions that are experiencing substantial demand in the market.


1. Accountant:

The demand for talented accountants with financial statement management skills is expected to remain high. Accurate management of financial statements is an extremely important task for companies. In addition, recently there has been an increasing focus on whether corporate finances are maintaining transparency, for example, from the perspective of compliance. Senior management needs to quickly understand the financial health of the company, and professional support from an accountant is essential as the company rethinks its business strategy.


2. FP&A:

Increased market competition and economic volatility have led to an increasingly high demand for FP&A, which analyzes financial data to support strategy formulation. In addition, advances in digital technology now make it possible to process large amounts of data at high speeds and perform predictive analysis.

The role of FP&A in forecasting future business scenarios and risks using these tools and providing the information that forms the basis for decision-making will continue to be essential for companies.


3. Accounting manager:

As digitization automates simple tasks, the demand for experienced accounting managers with high leadership skills will continue to increase. They will need to work closely with business strategy, manage budgets and Careful management of budgets and expenses, regulatory and compliance compliance, budget management and cost reduction.

Having an accounting manager who can handle these important tasks while proactively responding to change is critical to the growth of a company's business.


4. Financial controller:

The demand for financial controllers is also expected to increase in the future. In order for companies to maintain transparent and accurate financial information, they need to take a variety of measures, such as hiring new staff to increase their workforce, investing in new projects, and managing the balance of personnel within the company.

There are also increasing compliance requirements due to stricter regulations and the need for data analysis capabilities in data-driven management. While addressing these issues, financial controllers need to manage risk, collaborate with management, and support strategic decision-making, among other roles.


5. Senior staff and manager level positions with bi-lingual ability:

With globalization, adoption of international accounting standards, increased mergers and acquisitions, and the expansion of multinational companies, there is a growing demand for accounting professionals with business communication and presentation skills in English.



The automation of simple and routine accounting tasks through digitalization and AI technology is expected to continue to evolve in the future. At the same time, many companies will continue to need skilled and talented accounting professionals who can analyze the vast amounts of data gathered by these technologies to make strategic decisions and who can proactively respond to digital technologies.

By acquiring the skills, knowledge, and experience required for these high-demand positions, you will enhance your skills and achieve your long-term career goals.


At Robert Half, we specialize in jobs for the finance and accounting field. Please feel free to contact our consultant for advice on career changes, industry trends, job openings, and more. To view the latest finance and accounting jobs, please click below. 

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