Accounting, in particular accounting software, is in the midst of a dramatic change. The rapid rise of artificial intelligence software and growing sophistication of cloud-based software is shaping what the role of the accountant will be in the years to come.
Migration of accounting software to the cloud has been well documented, and accounting professionals are preparing themselves for further shifts in the market. With online accounting platforms already attracting users due to their affordability and accessibility, the introduction of AI is, as its name suggests, making the accounting process more intelligent.
Smart software bots and increased automation capabilities should be alerting accountants that times are changing. One company has already begun building a tool that literally automates all of your accounting duties using a 64-data-point-check system. This tool checks data for accuracy and learns how to organize the proper components to automate financial records. More impressively, it retains knowledge of the data and becomes more efficient as time goes on.
As these types of AI solutions begin to surface, manual input is truly becoming a thing of the past. Financial software is getting smarter and easier to use, automating more of the work traditionally done by accountants. Smaller businesses in particular can benefit from this pairing of intuitive software and AI developments, allowing for less dependency on traditional
Sage’s New Chat Bot
Expanding on the introduction of new technology in the accounting industry, Sage launched an intelligent chat bot earlier in 2016. The bot, named Pegg, enables users to log expenses, check invoices, track payments and more via the chat apps Facebook Messenger and Slack.
By eliminating the complexities of the accounting process through conversation, Pegg’s capabilities aim to make accounting practices as simple as sending a message to your friend. Information is digitized the moment it is entered, saving people from the torture of manually filing receipts and expenses, ultimately eliminating the need for manual data entry.
This type of innovation is prevalent across the accounting industry. Leading auditing and accounting firms are constantly searching for new ways to introduce AI to streamline workflows and leverage massive financial data sets. Predictive analytics tools are also being utilized for accounting needs, allowing businesses to use historical data to forecast future outcomes and establish patterns.
Accountants in the Future
With the continuing trend of technological advances, featuring increased automation, accountants are being forced to adapt to the new industry landscape. This leaves many begging the question––what does the future accountant’s role look like?
The simple answer is that accountants need to recast themselves as a type of financial advisor, studying the data and reports they used to capture. Their role no longer entails simply checking numbers and maintaining records, but instead shifts the focus to utilizing resources to optimize the financial end of a business. This change allows accountants to become a more valuable asset, giving them the ability to assess financial risks, gain a deeper knowledge of tax and regulatory developments, and provide ideas for cost-cutting measures.
As with most things, change is inevitable. The development of AI and predictive analytic tools in the accounting industry is not only changing the role of accountants, but also the practice of accounting itself. Whether you are an accountant or entrepreneur, this trend will be exciting to watch in the coming years.