Artificial intelligence has arrived in the accounting industry.
As artificial intelligence and machine learning has improved in recent years, it has enabled computers to perform decision-based tasks and analyze complex data that was previously left to human minds. AI tools with natural language processing capabilities can read through enormous datasets to find key terms and analyze that information for risk. Finance AI help auditors conduct assessments, and accountants sift through years of billing data to find patterns. Companies with artificial intelligence stock will continue to rise as time passes.
Artificial intelligence will certainly replace many functions traditionally performed by bookkeepers and accounting professionals, but rather than worry about the rise of robots, forward-thinking accounting professionals can take advantage of AI to grow their accounting practices.
Whenever new technology arises in a profession, there are those who fear it and those who embrace how it can help them do their jobs even better. AI is no different.
As a tool, AI can perform mundane tasks like reconciling bank accounts and categorizing expenses, but it cannot understand a client’s goals for their business and advise them on how to reach those goals. It can provide the base analysis on which strategy can be based — but it can’t plan that strategy.
As an accounting professional, these are your greatest strengths. The value of AI is that it can do the legwork for you, allowing you to focus on where you add the most value to your clients. To use this tool well, you’ll need a solid basis in both database science and a grasp of emerging technologies.
Self-directed learning, online and local courses, and industry seminars are all good places to pick up these skills. To practice them, begin small at your firm, taking on specialized projects that allow you to stretch and grow your skills.
IT skills are only half of the equation, of course. As the tasks bookkeepers used to perform are increasingly outsourced to artificial intelligence and automation solutions, accounting professionals will be valued for their expertise in drawing business insights out of AI analysis and advising clients on a course of action.
Business is changing at a rapid pace — which means if you want your expertise to be in demand, you need to keep current.
Follow industry blogs like AccountingWeb, AccountingToday, and others.
Attend industry conferences and visit the exposition area to chat with technology company representatives.
Take classes and attend presentations — both online webinars and locally if you live in a bigger city.
At MBSATA, we’re excited about the opportunities that the relationship between AI and accounting professionals will bring about. As new technology allows accountants and bookkeepers to perform more strategic analysis, we’ll be able to provide added value to our clients, helping them grow their businesses even more.
Curious about how the accounting profession is changing? Our CEO Mark Gilbert recently wrote a series of articles for AccountingWeb detailing how accounting professionals can grow their firms to meet the future.