Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the emerging trends in accounting. As it keeps evolving and encroaching on the roles of accountants, it becomes hard to know what the future holds concerning the two issues. Will AI replace accountants?
It is fair to know such an answer if you are in this profession to know how to prepare for what’s coming. It is equally important to avoid acquiring obsolete skills when making a career choice. But before we even get to such scenarios, it is important to figure out if they are possible.
The best way to go about it is to understand artificial intelligence (AI). It is also crucial to identify how it applies in accounting. So, let’s delve into this matter and, l answer this million-dollar question. Will accountants be replaced by AI?
Read on to find out!
Artificial Intelligence in Accounting
Generally, artificial intelligence is the technique that makes computer systems and machines simulate learning and thinking like human beings. It is designed to improve as one adds new data. This improvement occurs because multiple algorithms study patterns and use the analysis to improve. So, the more it collects and analyzes data, the more the system improves, thus performing better.
The adaptation has seen AI handle repetitive tasks accurately and fast, for that matter. That’s why it can perform various accounting tasks, including filing tax returns, audits, and payroll. Most accounting software, including Xero, Sage, and Intuit, applies AI to enhance their performances. Consequently, this software can handle invoices, expense submissions, audits, risk assessments, and bank reconciliations, among other basic accounting functions, without much human intervention.
That’s a great idea since these tasks can take quite some time. Adopting AI has saved most companies the time, workforce, and effort they would need to complete such tasks. It is a situation that explains why we have this topic. Will accountants be replaced by AI? One can say no without any fear of contradiction due to many reasons. The bottom line is that AI will transform accounting, not replace accountants.
Reasons Why AI Won’t Replace Accountants
Will accountants be replaced by AI? The answer is a no; hence no need for accountants to worry about their jobs. It can only improve their performances, but it can’t do everything these professionals do. For instance, it reduces the liability risk while increasing the accuracy of the data they enter. It can also analyze a lot of data within a short period. Other benefits include dealing with real-time data and detecting fraud.
That said and done, there are times when humans will be the only reason. Let’s understand why AI can’t replace accountants.
Human Instinct and Experience Are Important in Business Trust
Clients need human interaction and compassion when looking for assistance. It is important to experience their emotions to help them accordingly. The other party must also trust the person they are seeking help from. Only a person can understand this, so it is hard to replace accountants with AI.
On the other hand, humans gain experience as time goes by. At one point, that experience may come in handy, thus helping the accountant make a wise decision. Lastly, people will trust a business if people are working in it. Therefore, the entire AI may not be ideal as long as you want clients to choose your business.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
As much as AI can handle sectors such as banking, payroll, audits, tax filing, and expense management, there is more that it may not be in a position to do. For instance, only a trained accountant will interpret data accurately.
Consequently, as much as you will apply AI, there are sectors where it won’t be much help. Under such circumstances, the only option will be to look for humans. Examples of such instances include forecasting cash flow, checking balance sheets, and deciding on critical things.
Why AI Won’t Go Away Either
As much as AI can’t replace accountants, it is here to stay. Its accuracy, speed, and efficiency are indisputable. These aspects are crucial in accounting, and only a fool can ignore any tool or software that enhances them.
If that’s the case, accountants have no choice but to embrace it. These professionals should also gain skills that enable them to use AI as much as possible. Only then can you help your client embrace this amazing trend and practice.
That’s great for business because services everyone wants to cut on expenses. Automating repetitive tasks will reduce the cost and effort needed to perform them. Isn’t that what every business would wish for? That’s why AI is here to stay, and accountants must shape in or ship out.
Only an unwise accountant can assume that AI will go away. Similarly, they will ignore learning about it. Since they won’t be competitive, they risk losing their jobs. So, below-average accountants will most likely lose their job to AI.
Final Words: Will Accountants Be Replaced By AI?
Honestly, AI can do various accounting functions. Therefore, business owners and, more so, accountants have reasons to embrace it in their daily work. However, it would be untrue to claim that it has what it takes to replace humans.
That’s because AI can only enhance what humans can do in accounting and other sectors. There are things that only human beings can do, and that’s the reason accountants can’t be disregarded. Therefore, no one should worry about losing an accounting job because of AI.
That said and done, accountants need to be in the clear. AI is evolving, and the future of how things turn out remains uncertain. Similarly, most people know how good AI is for any business. As a matter of fact, accountants appreciate their complementary role in the industry.
If that’s the case, it is up to accountants to ensure that they remain relevant no matter how things turn out in the future. They should learn as much as possible about AI to handle its integration with accounting. Equally important, they need to stay updated with changes in its evolution and other trends.
Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Michael Bush
Michael is the owner of AccountantFor, which is part of the Bula Media group. As an experienced business owner and investor, Michael wanted to build AccountantFor through his personal experience of his frustration in finding the most suitable accountant for his requirements. In addition to this, we bring a number of expert views from accountancy and financial experts to help small businesses and sole traders.