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New 'digital accountant' pathway launched for trainees

Leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP today announces the launch of a new ‘digital accountant’ pathway for its trainee intake.

The pathway will incorporate five new digital-focused modules, alongside the traditional ACA accountancy qualification programme. The new modules have been specifically designed to develop technology, process and data audit skills. The modules will be delivered by BPP Education Group, a leading provider of accountancy training, covering:

1 Big data

2 Data analytics & visualisation

3 Cyber security

4 Digital innovation and disruption

5 Ethical and legal matters

To help address the digital skills gap in the audit market, the new programme will provide the firm’s trainees with a strong understanding of the role that data and technology play in the modern-day accountancy profession, and educate them as to how they are deployed and controlled within business.

The modules will be in place for the firm’s September 2020 trainee intake and will be mandatory for all graduate and school leavers studying for the ACA qualification in audit and tax.

Fiona Baldwin, Head of Audit at Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented:

“We are committed to investing in technology and the skills of our people to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the industry. Our updated, bespoke accountancy trainee programme will provide our people with a qualification that incorporates relevant digital skills alongside the traditional requisite technical accounting knowledge.

“As the accounting profession continues to evolve and, in particular, elements of the audit process become automated, we know our people need skills that will help them to adapt. We need to equip our people to understand and be able to work alongside new technology. As automation takes over some elements of current roles we will also need to invest further in ‘human skills’ such as communication and critical-thinking. These new modules will ensure our trainees are future-fit and equipped with the right knowledge and skills to deliver quality audits and provide expert advice.

“The evolution of our trainee programme sits at the heart of the firm’s quality and excellence agenda, as we focus on addressing the changing requirements of our clients and the wider industry. Building these skills into an agile and unique development programme will ensure that we are equipping our people from the very start of their career with the skills needed to succeed in the market, today and tomorrow.”

This announcement follows the firm’s Audit Investment Plan, shared last year, which outlined the measures being put in place to help strengthen audit as a specialism at the firm.

BPP Education Group currently delivers Grant Thornton’s full range of ACA, AAT, ACCA and Tax qualifications, alongside a range of technical skills training. The new pathway will seamlessly align to the firm’s existing trainee programmes. BPP’s experience in accountancy, data and technology education will ensure that Grant Thornton trainees are fully equipped with the digital credibility and expertise to support the evolving needs of their clients.