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In the last few years, technological developments have been on their peak. These developments have taken place not just in science and IT but in accounting field too. Recently Artificial Intelligence is one example which has provided the extremely accurate outputs and has eliminated inefficiencies. Accounting firms have embraced the automation already to improve efficiency for their clients. However, to date AI (Artificial Intelligence) has not been able to completely eliminate the place of a professional accountant.

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To understand the impact of AI and automation, we need to understand the meaning of Artificial Intelligence. In computer science and dictionary, it is called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines (such as computers). In contrast, the natural intelligence is expressed and exercised by humans or other alive creation. Few examples of computer activities with AI include speech recognition, autopiloting predicting forecasting and learning.

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Automation, on the other hand, is described as the process is operated or controlled by automatic means by a machine (like of computers) which reduces human intervention. The example of include the filling the forms automatically (forms autofill), customer support, facilities management etc.
Although Artificial Intelligence has already stepped in the accounting professional to help in the reduction of any inefficiencies, it is still in early stages. Positive thinking gives us a vision of the future where we can use AI and automation to solve accounting and business problems. However, we will still require human intervention to overcome practical challenges in implementation.

Accounting problems

Accountants and business advisors use their professional expertise in accounting and tax to help businesses make informed decisions. They need financial and non-financial information evidence and data to support their advice to clients. They have been using different technologies which means they were able to provide better and cheaper solutions for their clients and free up their valuable time and use it in high valuable tasks such as strategic financial directions, building qualitative relationships with their clients, strategic performance directions and decisions etc.

 

The AI and automation techniques help them improve in most areas of accounting by automating many tasks. Therefore, it is essential to identify accounting issues where computer learning is beneficial. This way, adoption efforts will be driven by business requirements and not just by technology capabilities.

Up until now, the technology has not been fully utilised by accountants. New projects which are under research and development include machine to automatically explain transactions in accounting software giving a high level of accuracy and efficiency, deducting unusual transactions, improving the bank reconciliation processes, predicting fraudulent activities and forecasted revenues models etc.

Other practical challenges

In order for AI to be successfully implemented, there must be sufficient data for a computer to learn. Although there is already enough qualitative transactional data available, due to long-standing issues with complex and unintegrated legacy systems, it has become a challenge in the current situation.

It is sometimes difficult to predict how successful AI project will be. Normally so far, the successful project has been set on the basis of a specific dataset. Furthermore, issues will be ethics and privacy. AI is based on machine learning only and not different ethics situations. To detect fraud, for example, may include the employees’ personal data which may have objections from a legal and ethical point of view. The other main limitation is initial investments or costs into research and development AI projects.

Timeframe for change

It is expected that it will roughly take 5 to 10 years of further effort in the application of AI to improve efficiency in the accountancy profession. However, some people argue for an aggressive timeframe. It is expected that large accounting firms will adopt this change sooner, considering their strong financial position in the market.

Our firm has started working on the automation projects to bring more efficiency in the organisation. This also means we will become even more competitive in the market.

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