Coding: as a professional accountant, why you should be interested

Coding refers to creating rules-based instructions that can be understood by a software program.

Coding white paper web

57% of respondents had no knowledge of coding, but 40% expressed an interest in learning, based on an ACCA survey of 992 members in November 2020. Three years on, none of the respondents want to remain without any knowledge of coding.

Coding can be a valuable skillset and there are various levels at which you can get involved. From just a high-level awareness of what it is, to involvement as a user who can partner with specialists to more hands-on development of code itself.

Some of the benefits of coding include:

  • A better understanding of the approach to data (88% of respondents), i.e. how it is organised, analysed, and flows through the organisation. 
  • More informed strategic conversations on technology (88%) use and adoption due to a better understanding of what needs to happen in the background. 
  • A valuable skillset that improves market value and career opportunities (85%).

Despite these benefits a lack of time is the most often cited barrier (84%). This is not surprising as many people may not need coding immediately in their day-job, so it gets pushed back in the queue of priorities.

Code may need to be refreshed as circumstances change, or it may be read and deployed by multiple individuals who had nothing to do with writing the original code. So, it needs to be well-constructed and usable, i.e. clean code - an asset that is human readable, avoids repetition, reduces complexity, and comes with documentation that clearly advises iterations and changes made. 

Every professional accountant may not need to code, but a basic understanding can add value to their organisation, help to differentiate them and open up future career opportunities.