iStock Big Data

The UK accountancy profession is struggling to cope with many of the leading technology trends, including Big Data analytics, according to research from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants.

The top 10 technologies with the potential to "reshape the accountancy profession and business landscape considerably", said the two organisations, are mobile, Big Data, artificial intelligence and robotics, cyber security, educational, cloud, payment systems, virtual and augmented reality, digital service delivery and social.

For their research the two bodies questioned global academics and experts in accountancy and technology, and surveyed over 2,100 ACCA and IMA members around the world.

Looking at specific technologies, 75% of UK respondents said mobile technologies will impact business in the years ahead, compared with a massive 95% in Australia, the highest score amongst global respondents.

The research showed the UK is "one of the least clued up about the impact of Big Data on business", said ACCA, with only 52% saying it will be impactful in the years ahead, alongside Ireland who scored the lowest at 47%. Again, Australia scored the highest at 91%.

And only 51% of UK respondents are concerned about the risks associated with cybercrime, compared to 74% in Africa, where respondents were the most concerned despite the continent being the least at risk from cybercrime attacks.

Chris Gentle, partner and head of research at Deloitte, and member of ACCA’s Accountancy Futures Academy, said: "Accountants and finance professionals must be open to the changes created by Big Data, cloud, mobile and social platforms, and face up to the demands of cybercrime, digital service delivery and artificial intelligence. The future will not be like the past and we will all need to adapt."

Faye Chua, head of futures research at ACCA, said: "UK accountants need to flex their influence more within their own businesses and practices and with their clients, as the UK scores amongst the lowest for tech influence. Only 45% of accountants and finance professionals in the UK said they influence technology decisions with their clients, and only 66% within the organisations where they work."

On Big Data, Chua said: "Respondent’s attitudes around the world to the impact of Big Data are insightful. South Asia, Asia Pacific, Australia and the Gulf States saw Big Data as being highly impactful on business in the years ahead, while respondent’s attitudes here in the UK, Ireland and wider Western Europe saw it as less transformative. Unlocking knowledge from vast data sets is incredibly valuable."