Artificial intelligence and its impact on accountancy
AN accountant's everyday life can often seem somewhat repetitive or uneventful, unless of course it's forensic accounting or connected in some way to a multi-billion business merger.
But the accountant's job might just be on the verge of becoming much more exciting! When we mention the term artificial intelligence (AI), we are inclined to think primarily of robots. We think of how much more of the mundane jobs that robots can take care of for us. As a result, many jobs and careers change and become more advanced and exciting.
That excitement is about to be a part of every accountant's daily life. AI is making more and more of an impact on the accounting profession and more Irish companies need to consider getting on board with it.
Accounting is traditionally a process and systems-based industry, where micro decisions are made every day. Artificial intelligence allows scalable decisions to be made for repetitive high volume tasks, allowing accountants to focus on providing quality advisory services which add much more value to a business. This allows the company to be more efficient and improve its quality of service to its clients.
Companies want much more from their accountancy departments than they did ten years ago. They expect their accountants or financial controllers to add value to their business as well as making their life simpler. As a result, pro-active accountants are looking at introducing as much technology as possible, to enhance their contribution to the company goals.
It's thought that AI could be the biggest invention since the calculator, by going beyond a calculation, and actually assisting with processing the data. Accountancy will change drastically with the onslaught of this technology, because it has such a high volume of repetitive processes. The quality of what the accounts department can offer will improve greatly, because human error will lessen, and even go completely in some areas.
Speaking with global leaders like technology giant SAP, I believe we will also see more specialist uses of AI in the accounting industry as technology firms and accountants collaborate to find innovative solutions for accountants.
Gone are the days of pen and paper schedules. Contrary to this, highly switched on, tech savvy accountants will become even more relevant. Whilst AI will change the way work is done, this does not necessarily mean accountants will be out of touch. The position of the company accountant, will become even more important within the business.
Accountants will further focus on how they can add value to the company, rather than allowing themselves to be viewed as just a number cruncher, or someone who reports on the financial position of the company, pays the bills or oversees the end of month figures, for the monthly board meeting.
The accountant, as a result of AI, will take on board a much more advisory role in the future. The new breed of accountants, coming from a younger generation and growing up with this new technology, will expects a high degree of automation in the accounts office.
AI is currently in its early stages in the accountancy sector, however it is going to radically change the accountants function in industry.
The ability of accountants to focus on using their skills to drive business benefits, will be the key to the use of AI in the accountancy sector. With the new applications, I expect ever increasingly complex decisions being made by AI, from posting invoices, to the correct account automatically, to alerting the accountant, when a client is showing signs of cash shortage.
By using various integrations, AI will be able to pull data from various sources and process this into high quality management information.
:: Trevor Bingham (firstname.lastname@example.org) is business relationship manager at ItFuel in Craigavon. Follow them on Twitter @itfuel.