Traditionally, using the words creative and accountant together was associated with questionable accounting practices. But creativity is being increasingly recognised as a valuable workplace skill. According to LinkedIn research, creativity is the most in-demand skill across all industries in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The 2020 Future of jobs report by the World Economic Forum has reported that creativity is expected to be increasingly in demand until 2025 and is among the top 5 skills growing in importance and demand.
Creativity does not just apply to specific artistic pursuits such as painting, writing and music; it also applies to technical professions such as accounting. Artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and rapid technological advancements have significantly transformed accountants’ roles from number crunchers to analytical, strategic, and value-added functions that greatly benefit from creativity.
Creativity for accountants is interpreting data, connecting ideas, investigating possible consequences, and producing new ideas to solve complex problems. It’s about seeing the bigger picture, thinking outside the box, and taking calculated risks to provide the best solutions for a business. Creativity is proving to be just as important as technical skills.
Benefits of Creative Thinking in the Workplace
Creativity complements accountants logical thinking and technical abilities, and it enables accountants to have a broader focus rather than just compliance and reporting. Creativity can provide benefits such as improved strategic decisions, increased business competitiveness now and in the future by fostering innovation, improving problem-solving by considering different perspectives, and encouraging new and unique ideas. Creativity can also enhance the morale and productivity of staff by creating an environment that supports new ideas and free-thinking. It can also help accountants effectively communicate financial data to stakeholders who may or may not be as savvy with numbers. All these factors contribute significantly to the success and profitability of a business.
Learn and Improve Creativity
Far from being an abstract ‘gift’ that you are born with, creativity is a skill that can be learnt and developed. Here are some tips to improve creativity in the workplace.
Go for a walk
A study conducted by Standford found that walking will increase creativity. According to author Steven Kotler, exercise can lower stress levels and increase neurochemicals in the brain, positively affecting mood and encouraging creativity.
Take a break
Take the pressure off and take a mental break when you are experiencing difficulty with a problem. Pressure can cause stress and anxiety and affect mood blocking the brain from being creative. Give yourself a chance to clear your head and opt for time to switch off.
Brainstorm ideas and collaborate
Write your all ideas on a piece of paper regardless of whether they are viable options or not. Collaborate with your colleagues, bounce your ideas off them and hear different perspectives. This may produce some new inspiration and free your mind to consider all possibilities.
Seek out new things to learn, challenge yourself, expand your knowledge, and develop new skills which will help boost your creativity.
Be willing to be pushed out of your comfort zone and try new things while also being prepared to fail. While it’s great when taking a risk results in a successful outcome, there is value in failing as it provides a valuable opportunity to learn.