AI is game changing for accountancy, but can this really eliminate human accountants all together?
Even the briefest scroll through LinkedIn will be enough to fill accountants with utmost dread that one day in the not-too-distant future, could well be their last.
Just look at a study made by Oxford University, in which 47% of jobs are expected to be fully automated by the year 2033.
Not wanting to be left behind, accountants are starting to deploy artificial intelligence to ensure key services are being delivered in conjunction with this new ‘normal’, and in fact, accountancy based AI will grow by 30% between 2023-2027 (Mordor Intelligence statistics report), giving clear indication that this industry in particular, is set for a swiftly transformative evolution you’re best off embracing before it's too late.
The benefits of AI are rather astonishing, but don't be fearful! It's a powerful tool which streamlines manual jobs, giving accountants more time with 'big picture stuff', creating a gripping partnership which unlocks even more potential in your work.
Here's a deeper dive into why your accountancy job isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.
Accountancy is more than a numbers game.
It’s about fostering strong client relations, as this creates a level emotional nuance which is pivotal when dealing with financial issues, or big picture dreams, both of which require deep empathy from accountants, who are human themself, and likely know first-hand the sort of sensitive roller coaster people are going through.
Can AI help you reach desired goals? Most probably.
Does it care about your emotional well-being along the way? Well, no – it’s a machine.
Striking empathy throughout a customer’s journey will ensure they’re given measured, considerate services, which are based on the facts, but delivered in responsible fashion.
Again, accountancy really does stretch beyond simple number crunching – in lots of cases, you’re strategic partners, often driving major business decisions from a financial sense.
What does this require?
Knowledge of current laws, and how they impact what can sometimes be multi-faceted businesses with complex requirements to consider.
ChatGPT knows a lot, but only until 2021, after which, it would have no understanding of brand-new laws, which may include fresh IFRS accounting standards launched only last month.
Accountancy firms want the best for every client, which means principled choices, steering clear from a strategy which may benefit one person, but negatively impacts another.
Conflicting interests is yet another sensitive issue, only truly realised with critical-thinking, and above all else, ethical standards, which AI is likely to look past, as its sole concern is delivering the desired result in the most efficient way.
Numbers are fairly easy to track, and certain algorithms can quickly flag fraudulent patterns really well, but people are still smarter.
Humans possess a distinct level of ingenuity that crafts incredibly complex schemes, masking their activity with layers upon layers of sophistication, which requires you to really ‘think outside the box’, much like the masterminds of said fraudulent activity.
Ai is also locked inside the confines of computer screens, totally unaware of current events, which often drive key motives.
Experienced accountants have seen multiple scenarios before and have likely developed tried and tested, pinpointed methods of overcoming complex challenges.
Ai is based on machine learning, using the expertise and insights provided by lots of different people who use the technology, so its capacity to deliver tangible, targeted methods are less likely, as its strategies are much broader in scope.
Let’s now focus on just some of the ways AI can support accountants now and well into the future.
And first on the list is perhaps the most obvious, which is how laborious, often time-consuming admin can be wiped from your daily in-tray.
Entering data, chasing emails and simply processing a payment are never particularly enjoyable, so imagine how much time and well-being is spared with these removed – all makes for lengthier stints with genuine ‘big picture’ stuff.
Also consider its ability to speed things up, which may prove crucial during lengthy, draining processes, such as tax returns for an enterprise level business.
Letting AI partially take the reins when you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed could be the difference when meeting with non-negotiable deadlines.
In essence, the future is all about striking balance, a synergy between operational efficiency you get through leveraging AI and making sure this syncs with human nuance.