How can more female CAs(SA) become architects of the digital world?
The future of the accounting profession remains relevant and vital to the prosperity of the societies in which it operates. It depends on its ability to focus on what is required to sustain its relevance in an evolving and technologically dominated future. Given the tumultuous year that has been 2020, the world needs professionals that can be trusted: people with bright minds and disciplined approaches to a very complex world.
Encouragingly, the role of CAs(SA) is progressively changing. Having bridged the gap to a digital role, this is particularly enlightening to me personally, especially as a female leader. For the CA(SA) qualification to progress to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, technological capabilities need to be actively embraced and deployed responsibly and ethically.
However, there is another story we need to understand if this optimism is to be realised. Emerging technology has great potential to impact the careers and livelihoods of women across all sectors. Female CAs(SA) need to embrace emerging technology as an enabler and a tool in their branding and adjust their skill sets to move forward in their careers and not be left behind.
The key is to turn emerging technology from a threat into an opportunity. In many industries, particularly the tech and financial industries, the lack of women in leadership roles will perpetuate inherent bias against women. Without greater access and suitable delivery mechanisms to emerging technology education, women will be unable to transition to occupations of the future.
The good news is that there are many ways we can act to heed off this future.
For one, diversity is key – Mzamo Masito said: ‘If we don’t deliberately, intentionally, proactively include … we unintentionally exclude.’ Conscious hiring decisions can revitalise women in organisations and especially in delivering a differentiated, unique skill set.
Other things female CAs(SA) should start doing, if not already:
- Develop your tech competencies The nature of CAs(SA) is one of continuous professional development and one can use social media such as LinkedIn to see which competencies are in demand. You can also update your emerging tech skills and learn new capabilities using the plethora of free and paid-for online training courses as well as becoming actively engaged in new emerging technology-related initiatives in your organisation – because the best way to learn is hands-on.
- Build your network Grow your network in other organisations and industries. This will give you a greater sense of how emerging tech is reshaping the world of work for women – and how to respond appropriately. The key is providing a network to support women from diverse backgrounds to connect with leaders who are actively influencing the future of the digital world and immerse them in the new emerging technologies while providing them with leadership insights and career growth strategies.
- Know the facts and become a champion Encourage your colleagues to collaborate towards change which benefits all. Embracing change is difficult, but future generations will engage in lifelong learning which could take them to a journey of diverse careers and employment opportunities.