How Artificial Intelligence is Impacting the Accounting Industry and its Future


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By the year 2020, artificial intelligence would be able to completely automate accounting tasks, and other financial tasks as well, including payroll, tax, audits and banking.

After decades of being stuck in research laboratories, AI or artificial intelligence is set for prime-time, which transforms if not disrupts all sectors of the economy the generate plenty of data, from technology to finance, energy, communications, mobility, healthcare or manufacturing. More than a lot of other industries, accounting has not witnessed much innovation since the creation of double-entry bookkeeping, which is a process of recording profits and losses and is conserved as one of the greatest advanced in the business and commerce history. But, this was more than 500 years ago!

The great news is that the advancements in artificial intelligence and applying AI and machine learning technologies to bookkeeping, is getting to be a reality with most major accounting software vendors presently offering capabilities for automating data entry, reconciliations and at times, even more. By 2020, it’s expected that accounting tasks, including audits, payroll, tax, banking, etc. would be fully automated with the use of AI-based technologies that will disrupt the accounting field in such a way that it never was for the last five hundred years, bringing big opportunities and serious challenges as well.

Some accounting practices are now starting to implement advanced technology to simplify operations. The outcome in general that they perceive is time savings, minimizing costs, boosting productivity and providing better accuracy. This means that this is hardly a trend that would fade soon, thus it’s better to catch up with it now instead of later.

Different form the time when cloud was an unknown territory for most accounting pros, industry players now are fully adapted to implement new technology to their routines, and the AI adoption is happening at a much faster pace. Yet, what truly amazes me is not only the benefits bots and AI are bringing to the accounting scenario. It is how the benefits are bring brought to it. There are a lot of structural changes that happen in the operational trenches, particularly about admin procedures.

Having machines to perform all the repetitive and tedious tasks may sound scary for most accountants, since they also are very time-consuming and so very lucrative. Nonetheless, if the artificial intelligence system is well-configured, it could eliminate accounting errors, which are in general difficult to find and thus lower the liability and enables moving to a more advisory role.

Regardless of being very promising, the accuracy of machine learning algorithms that are used in most of the solutions nowadays still requires significant improvement in efficiency to avoid errors and truly fulfill the promise of automation. For example, one of the most noticeable changes is impacting compliance, which is looking at how data is handled and processed become thoroughly automated. This enables accounting professionals to acquire fast and reliable data included in each tax report that they generate. Now, automated data entry is the rule for those who are after maximum efficiency.

In the same vein, categorization of data is being strongly affected by AI as well. Now, bots could determine and categorize all information into various accounts by themselves, meaning that AI is already delivering solo performances in the industry. For example, bots could tell and organize data that comes from the same source to various categories, thus if one has a monthly phone bill and a purchased phone bill that comes from the same phone carrier, the bots automatically understand that they have varying natures and would set them under different accounts chart. Machine learning also is observable since the bots could learn from different human input to make better judgments and adapt to the behavior patterns of accounting professionals.

The procedural changes that artificial intelligence is bringing could eventually spark some controversy on how secure things truly are with the transition. However, since accounting pros would still remain as the final approvers of all the tasks that are performed by artificial intelligence, they would keep control of any sensitive information that they want. So long as they have everything backed up in the cloud, they’re good to go.

The field of accounting is a very integral part of any organization, whether big or small. In the continuous evolution of technology these days, it’s important for any industry to be updated on the latest innovations to stay ahead of the competition.

There is no doubt that AI or artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world, and in particular how data is being used. The potential and the future of artificial intelligence in the field of accounting is great. The value of AI is expected to become $400 billion by 2020. Moreover, 49 percent of all paid activities these days could be automated by artificial intelligence.

Ritesh Mehta
Ritesh Mehta works as a senior Technical Account Manager in a software development company named TatvaSoft Australia based in Melbourne. He specializes in Agile Scrum methodology, Marketing Ops (MRM) application development, Android app development, SAAS & SOA application development, Offshore & Vendor team management. Also, he is knowledgeable and well-experienced in conducting business analysis, product development, team management and client relationship management.


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