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Sunday, November 28, 2021

What Can We Expect From The Future Of Accounting Automation?

Over the last decade, accounting — like most industries — has evolved considerably thanks to emerging technologies and the relative ease in which teams could adopt them. It’s been a cause for celebration for forward-thinking businesses, but also a cause for concern for more than a few accountants worried about losing their jobs to computers. 

So, what can we expect from accounting automation in the near future? Do we accountants need to be worried, or should we be excited about what the future will bring? What will the accounting industry look like in a few years?

More, Smarter Accounting Tools

As we look into the future of accounting and dream about the possibilities of new technology, the first thing we should expect is more of the same. The technology we’re using right now will continue to get smarter and more efficient. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are behind much of the automation we see in accounting applications and software today. Both processes allow the software to get smarter and make more and more accurate decisions over time. This is how to account reconciliations, transaction coding, and invoicing can be automated as the software learns common patterns and begins to do the work for us. 

At first, many of these processes were hit or miss. Over time, they’ve become more accurate and will continue to get even better. More accurate AI and machine learning means more tedious processes can be automated with minimal oversight. A single accountant will be able to quality check these numbers with plenty of time left over for more engaging work. And that’s really the key here, when accountants are able to leverage technology, they’re free to focus on more meaningful work rather than grinding out hours of data entry, coding, and manual calculations. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Of course, benefiting from AI isn’t always about dumping all the grunt work onto computers. Artificial intelligence also has the potential to make us better. 

AI is incredibly powerful when it comes to analysis. Massive amounts of data can be analyzed in seconds to my priceless insights. But using those insights to solve strategic business problems is a uniquely human endeavour, at least for now. 

The successful accountants of the future will be fully on board with this symbiotic relationship with technology. They’ll be ready to leverage tech to give themselves a boost so they can make the most of their minds and instincts. What exactly does that look like? 

Accountants who thrive in a symbiotic computing environment need at least two things: they need to be comfortable with technology and they need to be focused on high-value skills and thinking processes. 

The accountants of tomorrow will need to stay up to speed on technology and be comfortable using key applications and tools that emerge. Those who avoid tech will be at a serious disadvantage when it comes time to choose accounting talent. They’ll also need to be focused on building and refining those high-level skills that computers can’t easily duplicate. That means everyone in the accounting department is about to get a promotion and move up the chain in terms of strategic thinking and integration into the big picture of the business.    

While lower-level accounting tasks may be fully automated, reducing the number of people needed in those roles, there’s no indication that jobs will be vanishing any time soon for accountants who continue to grow in those two key areas. Keep your skills up-to-date, and you shouldn’t have to worry about job security. 

Of course, the tech of the future won’t only work better with humans, it will also work better with another tech. The ability of new applications to interface and integrate with one another makes accounting automation even more powerful. It allows the whole process to run smoothly without errors and hiccups in the space between steps. 

Beyond Automation

We would be remiss if we talked about technology only in terms of automation. As tech gets smarter, it also improves our ability to communicate and collaborate. With 2020 marking a major shift in how we do business, it’s possible businesses may never fully return to business as usual. Many companies are shifting to some degree of a remote and work-from-home structure as part of their long-term plan. Can technology help us with this too?

With the accounting team spread across the city – or across the world – collaboration is more important than ever. Technology makes it increasingly possible to share access to financial data, work simultaneously in an organized way, and stay in touch, even when we’re miles apart. This not only makes accounting teams more effective internally but also makes them better at sharing their insights and data with teams elsewhere in the company. 

Conclusion

Automation not only makes accounting easier, but it also makes the accountant’s job more rewarding. Without the need for manual calculations and data entry, accountants are free to focus on more important things. Rapid improvements in AI and machine learning will only make this more true in the next few years. 

While some entry-level accounting positions may start to shrink, it’s a great time to be an accountant. The accountants of the future will be those who take the time to add value with strategic skills, tech-savvy, and a deep understanding of where the business is going and how to get there.



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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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