How AI is Revolutionizing Business’ Approaches to Accounting

Artificial intelligence isn’t science fiction any more. Innovative AI is currently revolutionizing a wide range of industries and fields. Those who plan on working in those industries should familiarize themselves with the specific ways AI is impacting them to better understand how the nature of the jobs they’re pursuing may change in the near future.

For example, perhaps your goal is to become an accountant whose clients are primarily businesses. Naturally, you should prepare to do so by striving to perform well in school and leveraging all available resources (such as online CPA study courses) to maximize your chances of passing the CPA exam on the first try.

However, it’s also important to prepare by learning about the ways AI is changing how businesses handle their accounting needs. This can help you determine which skills you should (and shouldn’t) focus on cultivating now to boost your employability in the future.

Some of the more noteworthy ways AI is changing accounting include the following:

Document review

Although AI systems are now far more innovative and complex than they were only a few years ago, AI still can’t necessarily mimic the critical or creative thinking and problem-solving skills of a human. There will thus always be room for human accountants.

What AI is good at is taking over work that involves performing repetitive tasks or reviewing documents and data.

For instance, an accountant’s work often involves reviewing documents to retrieve information. An AI can do this much more efficiently. This gives an accountant more time to focus on other tasks that an AI system isn’t suited for, such as discussing a client’s financial situation.

Forecasting

Sometimes accounting firms assist their business clients by analyzing data and trends to help them make predictions about their businesses’ growth, potential future disruptions, and similar developments. This ensures businesses working with such accounting firms can prepare accordingly.

This is another task that AI can help with. In fact, major firm KPMG has already patented KPMG Ignite, a set of AI tools designed for this exact purpose. John Lee, one of the co-inventors of KPMG Ignite, has pointed out that adjusting to unexpected situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic is easier if a business can plan various contingencies based on possible unforeseen developments. KPMG Ignite can theoretically assist in this area of business planning and forecasting.

Responding to basic client requests

Again, it’s still important for accounting work to have a “human touch.” Accountants can provide the imagination and critical insight to clients that AI can’t offer.

However, there are instances when a client may contact an accounting firm with a question or concern that doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed by a human worker. When this happens in the future, an AI chatbot at a firm may handle the question, directing the client to a human employee only if necessary.

This is yet another way in which AI can actually help accountants work smarter. The less time an accountant spends on handling client calls, the more time they can spend on tasks like strategizing and preparing reports for clients.

The main point to take from all this, though, is that AI is already changing accounting, and will likely continue to do so in the future. Be sure to plan accordingly if your goal is to become an accountant.

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