Will Accountants be replaced by Artificial Intelligence?
How AI will impact accounting

Technology advances and develops day and night and so does the accounting/audit profession. Technology is one of the fundamental wheels that drive businesses, both small and large from a potential customer scrolling their screens and seeing your business ad, analyzing your data, implementing better systems to ensuring money is in your bank account. Well, recently we have seen the introduction and implementation of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E Bard etc. which have welcomed a lot of conversations on the many jobs they are likely to replace.

How accountants can leverage on AI

An analysis by World Economic Forum in their Future of jobs report 2020 stated that AI is envisaged to replace approximately 85 million jobs by 2025. This of course, will cause a huge disruption in the different job industries. The big question is how can particular professions position themselves so that they are steps ahead of these revolutions? How can expert individuals in various professions take advantage of these innovations to improve what they can offer? In a conversation with CPA Ronald Bwosi, he says that accountants and auditors can do the following;

#1. Learn Artificial Intelligence

Accountants ought to understand the very basic features of AI and stay agile, informed and up to date with changes and innovations around AI. Gaining an understanding of AI will help the profession appreciate or even widely discover the positive role that AI can play in making a shift in the nature of these jobs. In this light, it is significant for accountants to go above and beyond in their daily tasks to seek opportunities to collaborate with others in developing AI solutions for various accounting tasks. This further calls for learning programming and data analytics, which adds value to the individual accountant.

#2. Understand how to work along AI

Taking advantage of AI requires accountants to have knowledge on how to work along artificial intelligence, different tasks can be done faster with AI which include;

  • Fraud detection.
  • Automated data entry; accountants can now save time as AI assists with this and spend time finding solutions to clients problems.
  • Predictive analytics; AI can easily make predictions about future risks and events by reviewing and analyzing historical data. Accountants can integrate their skills, knowledge and the use of AI.
  • Financial forecasting; AI can analyze historical financial data and use predictive models to forecast future outcomes. Accountants can leverage these predictive insights to make informed decisions and provide valuable financial advice to stakeholders

#3. Change the approach of auditing and accounting

A changed approach to auditing and accounting by integrating AI enhances compliance as the AI systems help accountants stay updated with regulatory requirements and standards. It also ensures continuous real time monitoring and reporting which enables more proactive risk management.

Vast amounts of data from multiple sources are easily analyzed using AI algorithms and risk factors are assessed more comprehensively. This ensures there are more targeted audit procedures which translate to meaningful insights and recommendations to stakeholders.

Potential errors and patterns can also be identified faster using AI than manual procedures which improves accuracy.

In this manner, AI can help these professions grow the value of their engagements.

The audit profession has since evolved from compliance-based auditing to value-based auditing such that auditing is no longer about merely independently investigating clients books of accounts and internal controls to give an opinion and also ascertain a firm is compliant with the regulatory framework within which it operates in, but to actually offer solutions to clients problems, identify gaps and fill them, improve their businesses, help them grow and even compete favorably in their industry spaces. It is no longer about waiting until the end of the year but a continuous activity. This is the major reason why auditors can still confidently argue that AI isn’t taking over from them any sooner. Auditors now have the role to even go beyond into advisory and offer value.

This kind of approach to auditing necessitates auditors with high intention, sincere efforts, intelligent direction, skillful execution and capability of a wise choice of many alternatives. Auditors have to listen to clients, understand and know how to tailor make their solutions to the clients.

In conclusion, AI should not be seen by accountants as a replacement for these jobs, but rather a tool that can make work easier, faster and more interesting. They can learn artificial intelligence, understand how to work along AI and change the approach of auditing and accounting.

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