It is quite well known that majority of general accounting work pattern involve transactional and repetitive on day, month and year bases. Every month, the same entries are prepared and same procedures required to apply. Here, the procedures remain same, perhaps the numbers might vary. Hence, conventional accountants are quite comfortable with structure and routine.
While the status quo has been maintained so far, with the developmental surge in technology such as use of automation along with Artificial Intelligence(AI) and machine learning processes there are upcoming huge changes. It appears that technology, apart from its benefit, can disrupt the future of accountants in job market in ways we can’t even predict.
The website tool developed by Deloitte and Oxford University, perhaps depict the most permissive view of the future of accounting jobs. It indicates that accountants have a 95% chance of loosing their jobs to robots.
More precisely, a study by the Brooking Institute, have the prediction that accounting jobs having a higher percentage of repetitive tasks may be at a higher risk of replacement by automation. Moreover, the study further indicated that tremendous advancements in AI may make better paid accountants doing such repetitive tasks more vulnerable to replacement.
Since one can’t stop the entry of new technologies, at the same time, one can’t allow the job of accountants to become endangered towards extinction. Let’s have a look on the impact of technology on the job of an accountant and how to get rid of that scenario.
1. Basic Automation
Introduction of automated accounting work flow over the classical double entry book keeping and insertion of Quick Books in early 1990s, reduced the work and time in data entry. Automations helped to streamline processes regarding conversion of human error-prone exhaustive processes into error free efficient processes having little human intervention.
2. Introduction of Application Programming Interface(API)
Development of API made accounting processes much easier due to its capability of interacting with different software’s in the accounting system. API thus, replace coding for connecting two systems rather created a quick automated accounting work flow.
APIs also being applied in bank feeds so that transaction from accounts/cards can be directly downloaded in to the accounting system. The graphical representation from McKinsey(Figure below), shows the different accounting tasks that can be replaced by automation.
3. Robotic Process Automation(RPA)
RPA is a rule based program such as the Order to Cash software for example. It can collect order from customer portal enroute to to the specific site for fulfillment of the order and followed by making invoices and collection of payment at one go, thus, reducing the man power.
4. AI and Machine Learning
The AI and Machine Learning is expanding now a days expanding their functionality over the programmed rules. They provide access to a larger database of accounting transactions. By detecting the inherent data pattern, they help to improve the decision making avoiding human errors- a replacement for manual repetitive tasks.
5. Replacement of Accountants by Robots?
Though it is still far away, but possibility exist particularly for the accountants associated with low value repetitive works. It is apparent that automation is ideal for the kinds of exhaustive, drudging repetitive tasks where a classified accountant is no longer required.
6. The Way In is Way Out
The measures to be taken to prevent the threat of extinction, an accountant has to convert the low value work to a high value work pattern. This means amalgation of advancing technologies and the upgraded professional accounting knowledge.
Combining accounting information with data from various segments of the business and simultaneous application of data analytics help to unravel the hidden patterns unseen by human eyes. This is the kind of high value work associated with decision making processes and providing foresight for shifting the business strategy. Due to this, today’s business leaders are more akin to hire such accountants accustomed to such kind of work having actionable insights.
According to study by Grant Thornton(2020 survey of CFOs), about 90% of finance functions are going to be fully automated within 5 years. This is highly suggestive that to cope with the changing parameters, accountants are required to upgrade their professional skills, knowledge and should learn to use different tools.
To rule out the notion that accounting is going to be a dying profession one can take help by pursuing the following courses at their respective capacity.
6.1 US CMA Course
US CMA course is an internationally recognized professional accounting course in the management accounting and strategic financial management. This certification imparts knowledge of financial planning, analysis, control, decision support etc.
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6.2 US CPA Course
CPA US course is another high value top most accounting qualification in global perspective. The CPA stands ultimate in the field of internal auditing in its merit and paves the way for a fast track global accounting career.
CPA US Course Certification: How to be a Certified Public Accountant? :- The question might be raised why an accounting professional will seek CPA US course certification? To answer , we have to consider appropriate reasons like increased job opportunities, higher salary and finally…..continue reading….
Summing up, it can be stated that there are signals in the horizon which indicate the possibility of replacenent of accountants doing low value repetitive jobs by automation. This is happening by continuous introduction of various accounting softwares, AI and Machine Learning procedures.
To prevent the extinction, accountants need to upskill themselves by combining technology with the professional knowledge and skill sets. In this respect, the two courses mentioned above (US CMA course, CPA US course) are very much useful for an accountant to get a high value job or to transform from a low value job profile to a high one in global perspective.
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