Will Technology replace Accountants in the near future?

Nitin GoelNitin Goel    21 May 2020
Will Technology replace Accountants in the near future?

In recent years technology has evolved at a much rapid pace, so fast that it has almost gained a life of its own. Technology has been making continuous advancements in each & every field including our very own Profession of Accounting. During its journey, accounting has seen many transformations as a result of the changing world. 

Stating a small example: Shift from pen & paper to the digital spreadsheets even for the purpose of bookkeeping shows how the evolution of technology in the modern era leads to the digitization of the entire accounting process.

With the influence of this digitization & automation, the need to 'get a hold'; on these emerging technologies has become a crucial point. This will be key to professional success for accountants. Two of these technologies: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain have the potential to reshape the accounting profession as we know it. 

In basic terms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is intelligent machines that are able to complete repetitive, monotonous tasks obviously with greater accuracy & less time as compared to humans. It can self learn data to improve its performance. You might have heard about AI in recent times but it came into existence way back that it is already capable enough to handle many accounting functions, such as tax preparation, payroll, and audits. Also, nowadays the accounting software use the capabilities of AI to automate tasks such as data entry, account payables, etc.

Now since all the major accounting related work is being accomplished with the help of AI, it leaves us with one career impacting question - Does this world still need Accountants?The answer is definitely a YES. 

There always will be a need for that human element - human intelligence - at the other end of AI technology. In fact, according to leading research firm, Gartner, AI is set to create more jobs than it will replace, leaving workers, including accountants with options. The accountants need to adapt new methods of operation and accept AI with a smiling face. The field of accounting and finance is not just about numbers and algorithms; we need someone to analyze & interpret the AI data; hence, the human intellect cannot be overshadowed in any way.

Now coming to the blockchain, since the last couple of years, it's getting popular as a means of keeping the records. Originally invented for cryptocurrency transactions but the attributes of immutable records, 
timestamp, audit trail, etc. is making it a viable and effective alternative to reflect transparency in the business operations especially in record keeping. In the accounting profession, blockchain could have interesting implications for auditors. 

Due to blockchain technology's automated, real-time verification and enhanced security, auditors might not have to spend nearly as much time on verifications, confirmation, and analyses of specific accounts. Blockchain could make audits considerably faster and less expensive to perform. Both the role and skillsets of accounting auditors may change as new blockchain-based techniques and procedures emerge.

So there's a very common saying in English- Don't resist change, embrace it. The only thing constant in the world is 'change'.

Rather than worrying about these technological changes, we should embrace it as a powerful solution to enhance customer services where an accountant can use all their training & experience to do their best. 

Although these changes might be difficult to adapt but as we know the benefits are absolutely worth the time invested in sourcing the best new software. Embracing these will revolutionize your own personality built.  Staying up to date with trends & continuing to adapt & improve your knowledge over these aspects will definitely put you at the forefront.

Take care & Stay Safe.

Author: Nitin Goel

To enroll Accounting (CA Inter) subject of the author: Click Here
Also read: What is blockchain?

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