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AI Is Changing Accounting

Updated on April 15, 2018

AI is Changing Accounting


Introduction

January 22nd, 2018, Amazon Go store formally launched a physical store without a cashier to the public at downtown in Seattle, where Amazon’s headquarter is located. The Go store immediately grabbed a lot of eyes from the media, the public, and the experts from the different industries. It is astounding that shopping can be really done really without a second stop. Machine Learning, which is the current higher-level development and application of artificial intelligence (AI), integrates with a Go APP that customers can download on a smart cell phone to use, and cameras, sensors, and radio frequency identification device (RFID) to contribute the novel operation model achieved. People are suddenly alerted how the cutting-edge application technology of the AI has been existed around us and has influenced our lifestyle. Accordingly, people start to be concerned how AI can replace humans and how fast Americans can lose initially because of the AI technology (Stevenson, 2018). It is speculated that AI will be able to fully automate accounting tasks, as well as other financial tasks like taxes, payroll, and also audits (Su, 2018).

How the AI looks familiar

The Machine Learning, AI may sound like a new technology to many of us, but in reality, it has already slipped into our lives. When we go shopping on Amazon.com, the web page always pushes the products which we may like recently based on our last browser or shopping. When we watch videos on YouTube.com, the videos which we personally prefer to see are tracked by AI technology. It seems the websites knows everything about us and are able to accurately recommend the things which we like and want at that moment. All of these are the effects of the AI-based utilization. For now, the AI-based application has been permeating in many industries such as accounting, finance, communications, energy, healthcare, and so on (Su, 2018).

How accounting adopted AI

Today’s any business when it is established, it must face an unprecedented globalized, big-data-driven competition. To make a swift and accurate response, the professional accountants not only look through the internal operating data and information but also study their rivals’ and industries’ data and information. In accounting, the accuracy of recording transactions is the first principle of the precision of accounting analysis. The laborious process of recording cannot meet the present business demand. The advanced application of AI and machine learning just makes up for the deficiency of bookkeeping and reconciling. AI offers the capabilities of both receiving the data transmitted wirelessly or by scanning and automatically generating the double-entry, also making the reconciliations. In addition, the superior advantage of applying AI is to eliminate accounting errors which are generally hard to find and precisely identify trends, issues in data and miscellaneous information for accountants through machine learning. The machine learning autonomously learns and improves via each experience (Ash, 2017). The wide and intensive use of accounting software like QuickBooks Online, Intuit, Xero demonstrates the benefits through the AI-based technology.

Challenges and opportunities for accountants

Having the AI technologies to get the tedious, repetitive and time-consuming administrative accounting tasks done well and fast spontaneously replace some fundamental accounting job positions such as bookkeeper, accounting assistant. According to research conducted by Sage in 2017, 68% of accountants see their role is changing (Warawa, 2017). Previously, the accounting work is more about providing a service of the following-up support to business. Now, the application of the AI and machine learning are a catalyst for changes in the accounting community. Accountants are more likely to take the initiative to transform from a service role to an aggressive advisory role to business. Applying AI allows the professionals have more time to gain comprehensive insights and provide more detailed, diverse counsels to serve for the business management or business clients. The information generated by machine learning based on the big set- data is more objective than traditionally generated information. The differentiated expertise and the unique insights are more valuable to the strategic decision-making for the enterprises to stand on the competitive edge. The application of AI and machine learning in accounting allow accountants to provide up-level counsel service; in turn, the business decision-makers will expect more from accountants. In the reality, accountants are now playing an integral role more and more. They use the information done by AI to help businesses ensure if in the best position to navigate the problems and challenges and to steer the business to run smoothly and successfully (Riley, 2018).

Conclusion

Since time immemorial, the applying of a new technology always create new opportunities along with eliminating old jobs. AI is changing the accounting community and also is transforming the accounting information users’ expectations. Accountants who actively embrace the coming of the AI technology can take a leading advantage to increase self-value and never worry about if the job will be lost or not. Emerging AI is creating a new demand. It is irreversible that accountants are participating more in a decision-making role in business rather than a secondary support service role.



References

Ash, S. (2017). “Artificial intelligence: An opportunity not a threat for your accounting firm”. Boma. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from https://bomamarketing.com/2017/11/09/artificial-intelligence-an-opportunity-not-a-threat-for-your-accounting-firm/

Riley, S. (2018, January 25). How AI is driving a new era of accounting. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/how-artificial-intelligence-is-driving-a-new-era-of-accounting

Stevenson, A. (2018, February 01). Amazon Go And The 2.3 Million Cashiers It Could Leave Behind. Retrieved April 15, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/justcapital/2018/02/01/amazon-go-and-the-2-3-million-cashiers-it-could-leave-behind/#242769b07bcc

Warawa, J. (2017, November 1). Here's Why Accountants (Yes, YOU!) Should Be Driving AI Innovation. Retrieved April 14, 2018, from http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12378218/heres-why-accountants-yes-you-should-be-driving-ai-innovation

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