Post written by
Mike Galarza is founder and CEO at Entryless, a bill-automation and payment platform.
I believe artificial intelligence (AI) is about to transform the accounting industry. Automation, machine learning and big data are already impacting how accountants serve clients. Until recently, accounting technology existed to make certain tasks easier, but did not challenge accountants to re-think business practices.
This is changing.
The Tipping Point
The writing has been on the wall for years. I've been working on my own automation platform for businesses, and keeping tabs on other emerging technologies in the industry. From what I've seen, new technologies will create the need for accountants to adapt both their processes and skill sets. A recent Forbes article identified accounting as one of 10 professional disciplines threatened by technology capable of learning. As automation tools become increasingly able to perform transactional and record keeping tasks, accountants will need to future-proof their positions in the industry.
The long-term impact of AI on employment is now understandably under heavy scrutiny. The Economist recently examined the history of automation anxiety, citing multiple studies that did not bode well for the future of humans performing routine cognitive tasks.
What does this mean for accountants, and how can the industry prepare?
How Accountants Can Prepare
Although robo-accountants seem farfetched at the moment, they won’t be for long. Accounts will have to adapt to automation — focusing on more complex skills and creating value with human interaction. In a recent piece for the Wall Street Journal, Deloitte Analytics laid out how knowledge professionals can prepare for automation.