The days of manual calculations and endless paperwork are coming to an end. Of course, if you still tally numbers the old-fashioned way, that’s fine. But, in a new age where clients demand speed and you demand even greater accuracy, manual ways risk irrelevance. It’s in this intersection that artificial intelligence (AI) becomes essential.
It’s not a question of whether AI will redefine accounting — it already has. The big question now is: Who will grab hold of this new technology, and who will miss out and fall behind?
Why accountants can’t ignore AI
Accounting has a long-standing track record of embracing technological disruptions. There are some that resist change and will continue to do so. Yet, the rise of AI in all sectors demands undivided attention. In accounting, these are just some of the aspects of day-to-day work it can help with:
- Data analysis: Artificial intelligence swiftly navigates through extensive financial datasets. It identifies patterns and anomalies, delivering insights that would take human accountants significantly longer to obtain.
- Tax preparation: AI algorithms are revamping the way taxes are prepared by scanning countless tax codes and deductions quickly. This realigns the accountant’s role from number-crunching to strategic advising.
- Fraud detection: Financial security gets a robust upgrade with AI, as real-time transaction monitoring becomes the norm. Fraud detection turns proactive, drastically reducing financial risks. In one instance, AI flagged duplicate payments that had gone unnoticed for eight years — yes, eight years!
That said, it’s important to clarify that the notion that AI will eliminate jobs appears to be more myth than reality, at least from an executive standpoint. An overwhelming 87% predict AI will actually augment human capabilities. The implication? We’re not headed for a zero-sum game where machines win and humans lose. Instead, the landscape will be one of collaboration, where AI amplifies human efficiency and decision-making.
So, what’s at stake for accountants who choose not to adapt?
- Inefficiency: Tasks that AI can accomplish in moments will take you significantly longer, affecting your competitiveness.
- Relevance: As AI takes on more complex roles, your traditional skills become less sought-after.
- Career longevity: In a world increasingly driven by AI capabilities, your job security stands on shaky ground.
Conversely, the benefits of embracing AI are substantial:
- Efficiency: Streamline processes and accomplish tasks at an unprecedented speed.
- Accuracy: Minimize errors and improve the quality of financial reports and analysis.
- New roles: As repetitive tasks become automated, your focus can shift to strategic and advisory roles, enhancing your career scope.
Roadmap to AI proficiency
The rapid integration of AI is redefining the rules and reshaping the playing field. It’s become clear that in the future, It won’t be enough to have traditional accounting skills. In fact, 40% of workers will need to reskill within the next three years due to the accelerated adoption of AI and automation.
Proficiency in AI accounting has become a key differentiator in the industry. But how do you transition?
Understand the fundamentals
Learn the core concepts and terminologies associated with AI, like machine learning, data analytics and natural language processing. Also, familiarise yourself with accounting software that’s already AI-integrated. This will give you a concrete idea of how AI impacts day-to-day tasks.
Numerous platforms offer courses specifically designed for AI in accounting. These serve as an excellent starting point for hands-on learning. Moreover, you can regularly participate in relevant workshops and seminars to update your skills and network with experts in the field. One specific course worth considering is ACCA’s Machine Learning Program, but platforms like Coursera and Udemy offer a wide range of courses for all levels.
Gain practical experience
Even as an established professional in accounting, embracing AI technologies can present a learning curve. Starting with controlled, in-house tasks can help you adapt without compromising client work. It’s also a good idea to team up with colleagues who have experience in AI accounting for collaborative projects to fast-track your learning.
Since the world of AI is ever-evolving, make ongoing education a priority. Attend refresher courses and stay updated with industry journals and reports. And don’t forget to network; stay connected with industry professionals, join AI and accounting forums, and engage in discussions to share and acquire knowledge.
As you advance, consider seeking out a mentor who can provide personalised guidance and help you navigate complex challenges. Once you’re proficient, give back to the community. Share your experience and insights with those starting their journey.
Embrace AI with Dext
Adopting AI through Dext seamlessly integrates with your existing setup, be it Xero, QuickBooks Online, Sage, or other leading accounting software. Here’s what we offer:
- Dext Prepare eliminates the drudgery of manual data entry by automatically pulling all your financial data.
- Dext Precision functions like your internal auditor, ensuring the quality, accuracy, and compliance of your financial data.
- Dext Commerce effortlessly retrieves your digital sales data, transforming the reconciliation process from a complex chore into a straightforward task.
If you’re contemplating the shift to an AI-augmented accounting model, you’re already ahead of the curve. To assist you on this journey, we invite you to join our upcoming webinar.