Accounting and programming skills are rare skill sets that can easily make you a king amongst kings in the accounting and finance realm. There are things that excel sheets alone cannot help with. You have to learn to write computer programs that can do things faster and with high degree of accuracy.
I decided to learn coding 6 months ago using a programming language called Python. The most amazing thing is that it was way easier than I ever imagined. You can go with any programming language of your choice like C++, C, C#, Java and still achieve same goal but a little differently.
I chose Python after extensive consultation with pro computer programmers. Just for the record, if you wish to travel this road that is less travelled by accountants, I recommend that you go with Python- trust me, you will be amazed with what you can do combining your accounting and programming skills.
What are the benefits of programming skills to an accountant?
There are a lot of benefits that comes with having both accounting and programming skills. Few of these benefits are discussed here from my personal experience.
Data analysis will be fun
Report writing and data analysis can be a pain in the back side if you are to do things manually or spend some time learning how to use off the shelf tools.
There are wonderful analytical tools out there can help you achieve whatever goal you wish to achieve in data analysis and reporting but most of the tools will either extensive tweaking or you having to take a class or two just to learn how to use it.
Either way you are spending some resources so why don’t you learn to code so that you can write some line on code and get the job done faster and cheaper?
I can hear someone asking; what happen to the good old excel? Well, excel is still good and still does a lot of things but the business landscape is getting more complex that almost present unique situation every business decision that will require a level of programming to tweak excel before using it for the individual circumstances.
Starting a business for yourself
Let me make this unofficial announcement that I will be launching my product very soon. The program will be solving real world problem that I have noticed working as an accountant- all thanks to my new found love in coding. There are lots of business opportunities out there waiting for those that combine accounting and programming skills and start making money as accountants.
Create a bespoke tool for a repetitive task
My first project after learning to code was to write a program in python that I use to automate task in excel. The program acts as a middleware that prepares daily report for a client of mine. He needed to have a daily cash-flow statement at 9am for a conference meeting with his associates.
All that he has to do is input the date(s) that he is interested in and hit the generate report button. Hey! Am not saying I have made any significant invention here but I at least solved a 4 year old problem without costing my client a lot of money.
Accounting and programming skills makes you relevant
You cannot be swept under the carpet anymore if you command accounting and programming skills. Businesses and the commerce-zone have gone digitalized thereby making any one that understands both the language of business and computer.
Your accounting and programming skills are your new golden meal ticket that guarantees to put food on the table for a long time. I thought I had seen it all in 2012 when I qualified as a certified information system auditor but, I was wrong. That was a tip of the iceberg of the kind or respect and admiration that you get from your peers. That is like achieving triple global endorsement.
Familiarity with coding makes you a better logical thinker which translates into being a better accountant
You need to be a logical thinker in order to take raw information and then put them in lines of codes. You start by conceptualising the idea, write the code, run it, debug it, test it to make sure that it does what you intend, and then roll it out.
So, bring this disciplined and logical way of doing this will surely make you a better accountant.
Combing accounting and programming skills make you a next generation accountant with both hard and soft skills of modern day accountant. Gone are the days when little excels knowledge and proficiency in the use of traditional accounting software is enough. The rule of the game has changed and we all need to change the way we play the game to remain relevant.
There are many free tools out there that you can use to learn computer programming in a fun way. If you decide to use python, you can learn a lot from python website.