AI and Accountants

Showing no signs of stopping, the rapid increase of AI technology being incorporated into almost every aspect of business is cause for even white-collar professions, such as accounting, doubt their roles and responsibilities. Accounting technology with an embedded artificial intelligence gives accountants a reason to worry about being replaced and having no career options. After all, technology and accountants – especially in Australia – work together almost inseparably now given the mandated Single-Touch Payroll.

However, is it really the case that AI technology would soon render an accountant’s job obsolete?

AI Roles in Accounting

Long gone are the days when accountants had to accomplish repetitive but standard accounting tasks. These tasks include payroll, tax preparations, audits, bank reconciliations, and risk assessments (among many others). Obviously, these require a lot of time and energy as they are highly detail oriented. With the presence of AI and technology, time and attention are freed up for those value-adding tasks to better service clients.

Not only can technology take repetitive tasks out of accountants’ hands; AI can also do the job with higher accuracy and better efficiency. Data can be processed on a real-time basis, allowing human accountants to provide real-time analysis to clients. If in the past humans had to take a day or two to analyze data, now the task can be completed in a fraction of the time it usually takes. In addition, AI and machine learning enables an accurate prediction of outcomes based on historical trends in the data – equipping both accountants and their clients with a solid basis for when they make business decisions.

Given the amount of workload technology can do for business, what kind of value can accountants contribute to their firms or businesses, their practice, and most importantly, their clients?

The modern accountant

An accountant of today and of the future not only collaborates with other professionals but also utilizes technology to add value and to improve clientele experience. Thus, AI technology will not replace accounts; rather transform their roles.

Because technology will free up time while also improving efficiency, accountants’ roles will be directed towards a more consultative function. This would mean an increase in collaboration with clients by giving strategic business advice to help clients make sound business decisions. This advice, however, is based on the analyzed data not just by the AI. Processed data will still need the “human element” – which can only be given by actual human accountants.

Future-proofing your accounting practice will take some time and may even be a difficult transition at first as you try to determine how to let technology take over “mundane” tasks; but in the long run, prepping for what the future brings would be a more beneficial option than not doing it at all.

Heading into the future

The transformation of an accountant’s function does not mean that AI and technology will take over the finance and accounting industry. In the future, AI and humans work side-by-side to free up valuable time and focus by making efficient what were before tedious, time-consuming tasks. The future of the finance and accounting industry looks even brighter because data analysis (even historical data) is now in-depth more than ever, making forecasting more accurate. All these result to better service both in terms of offerings and experience to accountants’ and firms’ clients.

The key to getting the most out of the AI-accountant partnership is accepting that it is an inevitable business occurrence. Knowing first and foremost how it would look like with the right strategy in place will make the collaboration a harmonious one. Whatever business model, whether your accountant is in-house or outsourced, technology will play a role in fulfilling finance and accounting functions not simply to make processes more efficient and accurate, but also to enable business growth and provide the best customer experience.

Let’s get your business the technology and growth it needs.

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