Katy Bayliss is the Chief Innovation Officer at Crowe UK
I started my career training as a primary school teacher and didn’t feel it was the right choice for me. I played saxophone in a band with a friend who had his own practice, and he said my personality would make me a good fit. I found that there was a firm not far from home and went from there, starting my ACCA Qualification as though a school leaver and qualifying in 2005.
The most pressing issue for accountants today has to be capacity. We are growing, but the Great Resignation has taken a hit, too. It makes standardising and automating what we do more important than ever, and helps with the mindset side of change management. But perhaps we also need to consider what an accountant is, how we upskill or determine the required additional skills based on what future clients will need.
"I wrote a paper to the partners – I felt there wasn’t enough support for technology solutions for clients"
Once qualified, I wrote a paper to the partners because I felt there wasn’t enough support for technology solutions for clients. I started with supporting our audit and accounting system, then moved to developing our audit system through Clarity ISAs with our technical team, building and testing specifications. After a number of years, I wrote another paper to cover the same area but about wider service-line coverage for technology and digital transformation covering bookkeeping, apps, tax technology and data analytics firmwide.
Digital transformation is a continual process. We revisit what we’ve done as technology moves forward, adding layers as we go. My advice would be not to take what you’ve always done and use a digital tool just to tick the digital transformation box, but really take a step back to see where technology can add value; look for opportunity and what can change because of the technology. Consider the problem you are trying to solve first, then look at it as though starting again with new tools.
The aspects I like most about my job are listening and problem solving. This might be with the accounting, technology or processes, helping define best practice.
I’ve recently been appointed Crowe’s chief innovation officer. Unlike my other roles, this was through a formal application process to a predefined role rather than my shaping it fully myself. When I think of where I’ve come from, I feel privileged to have the opportunity and to be seen as capable by others in a role I’m really excited to take on.
Outside of work, I am mum to two pre-teenage boys and have a very energetic spaniel. I’m still involved in music although more through helping my children with theirs than playing my own instruments.