Like every industry, accounting has been heavily impacted by technology over the past decade or so. The future of the sector will continue to be shaped by the technologies that have developed and which continue to evolve. From the tech that is already mainstream – such as accounting software – through to that which is imminent (e.g. artificial intelligence), the future of accounting is going to be driven by the tech trends of today.
The end of human interaction?
One thing we can rely on with absolute certainty is that humans will always have a part to play in the future of accounting. While innovation means constantly looking for more efficient ways to manage accounting processes and outcomes, there is just no substitute for human insight and interaction once you reach a certain point. If any more proof of this was required it comes from the super innovative Tesla fully automated plant in Fremont, California. The plant relied entirely on AI robots who ended up slowing production to the point where the plant failed to meet its goals. Humans had to be brought in to manage the robots. So, whatever the future of accounting looks like, humans will always have a role to play in it.
Existing automation has already proven highly beneficial with respect to improving efficiency and processes. In the future the industry is likely to move to full automation of functions such as payroll, audits and banking. Artificial Intelligence plus automation will make it possible for those in the accountancy profession to access a wider range of data from a greater number of sources – in real time – to improve services and identify opportunities for growth. However, as noted, there is currently no substitute for the analytical reasoning of the human mind so accountants and advisors will always be required to apply the data to the real world.
Converting data into actionable insights
Embracing technology means evolving roles for accountants and advisors. While some of the more repetitive manual processes may be taken out of human hands, the most innovative in the accounting sector will be able to build value adding services based on areas where there is the greatest need. Data will be key to identifying those areas where there is the most potential. So, for many, the future of the industry will be shaped by converting data into actionable insights that set a business apart from the competition.
Cloud accounting software is here to stay
The global market for accounting software will be worth $11.8 billion by 2026. Cloud based software-as-a-service applications are multiplying in number and offer significant benefits that are difficult to match. And take up is already substantial. It’s likely that in the near future cloud accounting software, as well as the market for integrated applications developing around it, is likely to be the norm in the accounting world.
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