A word like automation might make you think of apocalyptic wars between humans and machines. And as an accountant, you've probably worried about technology replacing all the human jobs in your profession.
Read on, and you'll see that your willingness to embrace automation might soon determine your career path.
Technology has undoubtedly impacted the workforce, because:
- Approximately 5 million U.S. factory jobs have disappeared since 2000 due to the rise of automation1
- Nearly 58% of CEOs plan to cut jobs by replacing humans with machines2
About 20% of workers in the finance sector mainly focus on data processing,3 but accounting software can already automate 80%—90% percent of customers' transactions.4
A recent University of Oxford study predicted that within the next 20 years, the following accounting jobs will have a 93%—98% chance of being completely automated:4
- Tax preparation
- Accounting and auditing
At this point, you might ask, "Where's the silver lining? How do I stay afloat in the face of automation?"
To move past all the doom and gloom, you may need to take your accounting knowledge into a new role.
As technology's capabilities expand, start learning more about these fields:
- Program management
- Business analysis
Many forecasters see the "Accountant of the Future" as a system administrator who guides clients' business decisions based on data generated by artificial intelligence (AI) programs. If you look at this as an opportunity to evolve in your profession, you'll find yourself handling more client consultation and risk management tasks.
Working with AI generally requires a fair amount of setup work and collaboration. But once you learn the algorithms and what they tell you, you'll have a greater likelihood of adapting to changes.
The following resources will help you learn about using technology to predict trends:
- The Anticipatory Organization focuses on the techniques needed to harness AI, automation, and other tools to grow businesses
- IBM Cognitive Class allows you to take free courses focused on data science, analysis, and technology
You might worry about where technology will take us. Automation has eliminated jobs, and many experts foresee some accounting roles disappearing within the next twenty years. But if you harness the power of emerging technology and your accounting expertise, you could find yourself thriving in a new role.
Share Your Thoughts
Do you view automation as a positive or a negative? What does your accounting firm do to stay on top of the latest technological trends? Share your insights in the comments.
This article is for informational purposes only.
1Darrow, Barb. "The Bright Side of Job-Killing Automation." Fortune. Fortune. 5 April 2017. Web. 11 July 2017.
2Bomey, Nathan. "Special report: Automation
puts jobs in peril." USA Today. USA Today. 6 February 2017. Web. 11 July 2017.
3Oliver, Blake. "The future of automation and accounting." Accounting Today. Accounting Today. 15 December 2016. Web. 11 July 2017.
4Hood, Tom and Sheridan, Bill. "Why Lifelong Learning is Our Competitive Advantage in the Automation Age." AccountingWeb. Accounting. Web. 7 June 2017. Web. 11 July 2017.