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IoT and Accounting: Resistance Is Futile

Updated on February 7, 2019
Sarah Vallory Draper profile image

Sarah V. Draper is a professional copywriter and freelance investigative journalist whose passion is communicating with the world.


My Sudden Epiphany

Can you believe that there once was a time in my history I used the Victorian slide rule?

Maybe that wasn't as bad as when people used beans.

But we are now in a time where even using a mechanical calculator is looked at as archaic.

Now, look at us today.

We accounting professionals are staying productive twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week thanks to our IoT tools.

But I wonder: how many of us actually are aware of how automated we have become.

I mean, it’s at the point where we no longer are burdened with that boring paper and pen (the one that once left an ink stain in our shirt pocket), and are now assisted by connected technology that helps our clients and us by automating pieces of their business while we are on the move (or actually stuck in traffic).

I recently found an article title that read: "Robots will destroy our jobs – and we're not ready for it."

And, of course, we accountants were one of the groups in the crosshairs.

So, instead of panicking and considering enrolling into college again for an IT related degree (God forbid I would be forced through those days again), I decided to see what I could do to better prepare myself for the drastic technological changes in the future.

As an accountant, I find little time to do much in the way of study and research outside my given field.

I think most of us accountants have experienced that since the first month we stepped foot in college to pursue our love of numbers (well, other people's numbers).

It has become pretty obvious the leverage businesses are afforded by using IoT technologies.

It improves their products and services by providing a better understanding of its business planning and resource allocation.

But how can it help accountants?

Accounts have great potential to take advantage of the IoT trend.

Real-time data can improve the accuracy of budgeting, improve cost planning and forecasting.

While "things" are gaining the ability to communicate with other "things," human resources and scheduling of service downtimes become less costly while risk management is more accessible to accomplish.

The ability to detect, track and ultimately detect fraud will become a breeze.


We Need Not Fear IoT - We Should Embrace IoT

IoT will include 26 billion connected devices, including another estimated 7.3 billion smartphones, tablets, and PCs by the year 2020, according to the Gartner Forecast.

The equates to about one for every person on the planet. That is truly amazing, isn't it?

Furthermore, IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services.

It will result in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add through sales into diverse end markets. That's quite humbling to think about.

Even though this fast-paced change in the world may seem staggering at first, IoT is really simple to understand.

As we in the accounting industry and our clients are still getting used to working with the myriad of SME focused online accounting packages, Cloud isn't even the biggest topic anymore - it's all about IoT and automation.

What does this mean for us? It means that instead of fearing that we will lose our place in the industry because of automation and IoT, we need to embrace it and find ways that this technology augments our talents.


The Accounting Industry Needs to Be Prepared for Change

In 2015, the National Public Radio's (NPR) calculator predicted which jobs would be threatened by automation and took both the American and UK media by storm.

Using research by the University of Oxford, this calculator pretty much gave us accountants about as much of a chance as a character in the Walking Dead series - maybe even worse than that since it showed we have about a 95 percent chance of losing our jobs as computers take over the tedious job of number crunching and data analysis.

Technological advances have the power to eliminate jobs and create others, as history has shown.

There is no reason to assume this trend will ever change. In a recent study by Deloitte, a UK-incorporated multinational professional services firm, they state: “We cannot forecast the jobs of the future, but we believe that jobs will continue to be created, enhanced and destroyed much as they have in the last 150 years.”

Now think about this: In a Future of Jobs report published earlier this year by the World Economic Forum (WEF) stated that most in-demand jobs didn't exist 10 years ago.

Even more astonishing, 65 percent of children entering primary school are now learning thing that will prepare them for job roles that don't even exist yet!


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