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More than mathematics: Dext survey reveals majority of accountants and bookkeepers are lateral thinkers

61% of accountants and bookkeepers consider themselves lateral thinkers, meaning they approach problem solving with a creative approach. That’s according to new data from cloud pre-accounting platform Dext, which surveyed 250 accountants and bookkeepers to evaluate the three modes of thinking in the accounting industry.

Creativity is a key skill area identified by ACCA as being essential to the accountancy profession. And, despite Rishi Sunak pledging that mathematics should be compulsory for students in England until the age of 18, Dext’s findings reveal that only 36% of respondents consider themselves convergent thinkers. Convergent thinking occurs when the solution to a problem can be deduced by applying established rules and logical reasoning.

Additionally, 6% of respondents identify as divergent thinkers. Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.

Sabby Gill, CEO of Dext, commented: “The role of the accountant is changing. Accountants and bookkeepers are considered to be one of the most trusted professions. And, as trusted advisors, they are required to think both creatively and mathematically. Particularly in times of uncertainty, there is a higher demand for accountants to reassure businesses that they are in a strong position. Accountants that can apply creativity to a challenge will see themselves adding value to their client base.”

Another Dext survey of 300 UK accountants and bookeepers discovered that the majority (44%) of accountants started their career in the industry because they were interested in finance/business, yet over a quarter of respondents don’t think A-level maths is necessary for an accounting career.

“A huge driver of this change is accounting automation software, which is taking the hefty admin load and allowing accountants to focus on what really matters – creative and strategic problem solving. People want to be able to confide in their accountants for personable and quality advice, so it’s no wonder that more accountants and bookkeepers now consider themselves lateral over convergent thinkers,” Sabby concluded.

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