The digital age has shaken the business world to its core, just as it has society as a whole. Online accounting agencies have been springing up in tandem with the rise of new technologies, led by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. These innovations make it possible to process huge volumes of data and to automate bookkeeping processes that, before, were the preserve of chartered or certified accountants.
So, in terms of your job security, need this be a cause for concern? What will be the impact of technology on the accounting profession? Will full automation be the end of human intervention? Not necessarily.
Let's see the technology as an opportunity to be embraced rather than a threat to be feared. Let's allow this innovation to transform and inject value into a profession that still has humans at its heart. Leave the software to take care of the mundane, menial, mindless tasks so that you can focus your energy on strategic issues that demand knowledge, human experience and nuance.
Let's take an example.
One of your principal tasks is to keep the books of your customers in good order. For you to be able to sign off on them, you need to be absolutely certain that every detail is checked, reliable and accurate. It's the numerical equivalent of crossing the 't's and dotting the 'i's. And that part of the job can be incredibly tedious and a massive drain on your time.
This is where AI - and in particular machine learning - can be your greatest ally. Machine learning, a sub-branch of AI, allows algorithms to recognise precise patterns and individual data. In concrete terms, they are able to identify and differentiate invoices, estimates, purchase orders and payslips, and then categorize them.
This will save you a significant amount of time revising and editing your customer's accounts. You no longer have to worry about running around trying to find proofs-of-purchase and paper receipts and associating them to the corresponding expense. It's all done for you by the algorithms. The technological help doesn't stop there; it can also:
- extract information from documents and apply them to a chart of accounts;
- input data automatically.