Many accountants are concerned about how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact their role within a company. Although computers are increasingly being taught to act like humans, and changes are being seen in the accounting industry, there are many benefits to advancements in technology. Here are some ways AI is affecting the accounting industry and what they may mean for you.
Increase in Automation
AI is steadily taking over repetitive bookkeeping and process-driven tasks, such as data entry and transaction coding. For example, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scans invoices. IBM Watson uses natural language processing and machine learning for providing information and insights from large amounts of unstructured data. Custom-designed software automates many accounting, tax and audit data-gathering and processing tasks for accounting professionals to review. AI is expected to continue moving to higher-level accounting positions as well.
Benefits for the Accounting Industry
AI improves the overall quality of the accounting industry. For example, because AI uncovers more issues for auditors to ask their clients about, auditors gain more insight into their clients’ fiscal responsibility and complete their work more efficiently. Also, because there is an expected increase in demand for making sense of corporate data or sustainability reporting, the number of accounting business data analysts and business consultants in accounting firms is likely to increase.
Changing Role of Accountants
At this time, higher-value tasks remain under the control of human accountants. For example, consultants still advise on tax planning, discuss business operations, review client goals and more.
However, accountants are becoming increasingly responsible for focusing on strategic initiatives such as process improvement, cost control and capital optimization. As a result, accounting professionals must keep pace with changes in client industries and compliance with complex regulations and sound financial controls. Also, the rise of AI will result in creating roles that currently do not exist. For example, many accountants will become business coaches and partners for clients and businesses. In addition, much accounting work may be done remotely, increasing the need for project-based teams. Furthermore, because communication is the most important skill in accounting, the need for promoting soft skills among accountants will create new opportunities. Therefore, accountants need to be ready to learn new skills to stay ahead in the industry.
Are you looking for a new job in accounting?
Advancement of AI is predicted to result in greater job creation, productivity and prosperity. Stay proactive in your accounting career and continue evolving along with the industry. Reach out to the professionals at Mercer Bradley today!