Accounting commenced with simple tallies on cave walls and bone tags on goods marked for the afterlife in Egyptian tombs. Now, cloud base accounting is becoming the norm.
UNIVAC 1 was the first computer to be used to complete an accounting task (a two day pay roll) compared to the foundU Platform that can generate one in milliseconds.
The next big step in accounting is artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is defined as the development of computer systems that can complete tasks normally requiring humans. Examples include speech recognition, decision making and visual perception.
The applications of A.I in the accounting profession are almost limitless. Key areas where machine intelligence can be applied are governance, auditing and document processing.
In the future, advanced artificial intelligence could be used as a fiduciary making rational and logical decisions. A.I will also provide continuity over decades and adhere to the original mandate.
A.I can take the pain out of complex auditing and automatically take stock of inventories both physical and virtual when asked. When examining tax law, A.I can be informed about new laws and apply the rules to all relevant financial activity. Systems like this are already being used by international corporations to track tax in different jurisdictions.
Artificial intelligence has the ability to read documents removing accountant labour and allowing them to focus on more important activities.
Streamlining and Integration
A.I can contribute to the streamlining and integration of financial data for stakeholders that require it. Future accounting software platforms will make it easier to lodge financial details with authorities like ATO and WorkCover.
This will lead to a push for greater financial transparency in accounting. Organisations that need to view a company’s financial data will be able to do so with integrated dashboards and automatic reporting.
The final trend affecting accounting is data security. While financial information is some of the most protected data on the planet, increased reporting will mean increased risk. Challenges will arise when dealing with third party users of financial information. While a business may be able to guarantee its own security, it will have to trust a third party to securely access and store its data.
All these trends will affect the accounting profession and there is ample room for them to be positive. Accountants will have to monitor A.I and work vigilantly to protect their client’s financial data. But, with increased automation and integration, accountants will have more time to offer sound strategy and advice.