AI And Accounting: A Match Made In Heaven?

As the entire accounting and bookkeeping industry undergoes many profound changes, for those companies not comfortable with embracing artificial intelligence, they run a very real risk of being left behind.

While accounting firms and outsourced bookkeeping services were traditionally relied upon to record, classify, and summarize financial transactions, provide businesses with insights, and ensure accounting standards compliance, AI has come along and somewhat disrupted these traditional practices and concepts.

Proving challenging for many within the industry, even for those willing to embrace AI, accountants have been forced to adapt their role and evolve, shaping a new horizon for all within the industry.

What impact has AI had on accounting?

Machine learning, natural language processing, and generative AI, are all technologies that have played a part in revolutionizing the way in which the accounting industry works. With the potential to automate a significant percentage of all finance-related activities, AI has given accounting professionals the freedom to focus on other tasks within the services they provide that have a higher value.

While AI is certainly a tool, it is also a catalyst for change that is slowly but surely redefining accountants roles; allowing them to shift their focus to more profitable services, and make decisions that are far more strategic.

How new roles are emerging within the industry

With AI automating a multitude of routine tasks, new accounting roles are beginning to emerge that are turning accountants into financial strategists, data analysts, and technology integrators. By taking advantage of AI tools, accounting and bookkeeping professionals are able to provide more valuable insights, and improve upon their decision-making to enhance the value of their firm as a whole.

What are accountants now expected to do?

In their new roles, and with the help of AI, accounting professionals are expected to:

1. Analyze data

Capable of analyzing huge swathes of data, AI has given accountants the opportunity to spot trends and anomalies, and other things that were previously extremely hard (if not impossible) to identify.

2. Give strategic insights

With the bulk of data processing being handled by AI, accountants can shift their focus to data interpretation and giving their clients strategic advice.

Why it’s so important for accountants to embrace AI

Initial fears held by many, were that AI was going to replace the role of humans in a wide range of industries, including accounting and finance. However, it has since become clear that for all the benefits AI can bring to the accounting industry, it cannot (and likely never will) replace the human touch. As powerful as it is as a tool, AI is simply incapable of producing such responses as empathy, creativity, and human judgement, each of which are essential to the role of accounting professionals in providing vital services for their clients.

So, for those accounting companies providing offshore bookkeeping and other outsourced services, while AI isn’t going to replace them, if they refuse to embrace the new technology and use it to their, and their clients advantage, accountants who are using it, will simply replace them.

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