Artificial Intelligence (AI) Transformation in Accounting and Auditing Industry
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AI is going to Transform How Accountants Function

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Artificial intelligence AI) has been a big buzz word off late. But do you wonder what is meant by it exactly?

In layman terms, artificial intelligence is when a machine simulates human intelligence. There are various processes that AI can carry out. Today, AI applications are made around expert systems which simulate the behaviour and judgment of a human, speech recognition devices such as Google Home and Alexa and machine vision, which has the capability of a computer to see, just with same complexity of voice recognition.

AI enables automation of many processes, which were being inputted manually earlier. In addition, by using machine learning, AI can also gain knowledge without any programming. Isn’t that amazing?

However, though AI is very impressive and can automate carrying out simple tasks, it is unlikely to surpass human intelligence anytime in the near future. AI requires our human intelligence in scenarios of an emergency, for coding, in case of a malfunction, etc.

Therefore, AI are systems created and developed by human beings to act in “smart” ways for basically accomplishing some tasks and enhancing our work. Having said that, AI has to be trained; and that’s where Machine Learning (ML) steps in. ML is AI’s training with an objective of developing a model that constantly enhances and aids the augmentation of tasks done by humans.

How can AI and Accounting Collaborate?

For many questions that your clients could have like what is the amount of money that is expected to come in and who owes that to me? What are the expenses I am making? Who all do I need to pay?

It can be tedious to provide answers to these, right? For instance, an accountant might pull out a customized revenue report each month for a specific client. This might need you to export some data from a sheet, then sort it and find the needed information, do calculations, make a table or chart, create a jpeg of this chart to put in a PowerPoint slide and much more.

But imagine, if all this could be done using AI; then such reports and other steps could be done in a miniscule time. This saves time and money for both the client and the accountant.

How is AI restructuring the accounting industry

The estimates point out that by the year 2025, the international AI market would be around $60 billion. In 2016, it was pegged at $1.4 billion.

So you can imagine how using AI is increasing exponentially. However, this is surely going to have major consequences on the accounting industry.

Nowadays, various organisations are accepting and rather welcoming this change. Many businesses are applying the new AI technologies to enhance and streamline their business operations; one key area being accounting. That’s because AI gives many positive results like augmenting productivity, enhancing accuracy and minimising costs.

But AI cannot take over an accountant’s role completely; though what it really do is to perform the more standard, time-consuming, administrative or repetitive tasks, thus releasing accountant’s time to concentrate on the more complex and strategic accounting jobs; for example lending strategic advice to assist a business to expand further.

Which business and accounting jobs can AI perform? 

1.Audits

The auditors now do not need to search file cabinets for documents as they would have access to the digital files. This helps in increasing the efficiency and precision of audits and makes it a possibility to audit all the financial transactions of a company rather than a few samples.

In addition, you also get those numbers in much lesser time because AI can give you data from a multiple sources, then consolidate it, and merge it together. All this and more while speeding up the end-to-end process and eradicating the possibility of human risk.

2.Procurement

For many companies, tracking and procurement is filled with paperwork and file formats that may not be compatible with one another. However, AI can be integrated with APIs and unstructured data can be processed. Meaning you and your company can go paperless, save the environment and make procurement easier in the process. AI allows you to easily track changes in price among several suppliers.

3.Expense Management

It is surely a humungous and very time-consuming task to sort out all those receipts to ensure that they are compliant with your company’s policy. AI helps you sit back and let your machine perform the checks and review the expenses. It even sends a warning signal in case there is any sort of a breach.

4.AI Chatbots

In case of AI, your machines can effectively resolve various common questions from users, which may include things like bill reminders, status on accounts and latest account balance.

Some other jobs that AI can handle are:

  • VAT returns
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Importing data such as receipts from apps
  • Following on debts
  • Automating billing for your clients

Key Takeaway

AI is already bringing far-reaching transformation in the accounting sector and it is expected to continue doing so; however, we don’t think that it is going to replace the job of accountants. There is a lot that it can accomplish but we will still continue to require accountants for the more complex jobs and decision-making.

With AI, the accountants in fact would have even more time to concentrate on other responsibilities that could benefit you and your firm. It is imperative to tread with the times and the ever-changing technologies for any business; hence, striking an apt collaboration mechanism between humans and machine is certainly a winning principle for your company.

Author bio information

Priyanka Bhandari

Ms. Priyanka Bhandari is part of the management team at IMC. She has vast experience is Business Consulting in the Middle East region. She spearheaded our Digital Marketing initiatives and her core expertise lies in communications management. With a Masters in Communication she is at the forefront of our Client relationship Management, Media and Marketing Division & Business Development opportunities amongst other responsibilities.

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