Technology is having a huge impact on many business sectors, but one industry that is facing significant changes is the accounting industry.
Technology is helping to remove time-intensive manual tasks and transform many processes. As a result, the role of an accountant is shifting away from number crunching and towards business advisory. An accountant is increasingly expected to be able to analyse and interpret the data generated by technology, providing expert advice to business leaders which can help more informed decisions to be made.
This article takes a closer look at four technologies that are having the greatest effect on the accounting industry.
1. Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Simple, repetitive and mundane tasks which were once carried out by an accountant (such as data entry and accounts administration) can now be carried out automatically with the help of more advanced technologies. This helps to streamline processes and leads to increased efficiency. Human error can be reduced, leading to more accurate data being stored. Automation can also save huge amounts of time and cut costs. As a result, accountants can spend more time on business-critical tasks which can add more value to businesses.
Artificial intelligence can provide smarter insights, as it can analyse data over a period and show trends. It can help identify any issues more easily too, such as errors in data, decreases in cash flow, non-compliance, or even detect fraud.
2. Cloud computing
Previously, financial information such as invoices would be stored in a paper format in a filing cabinet on a clients’ premises. However, with the help of cloud computing, this has been transformed. Accountants are now able to access programs and files from anywhere in the world, on any device (you simply need a good Internet connection). This reduces the need for travel, saving time which can subsequently be spent on more important tasks that can add value to businesses. It can also help to improve communication and collaboration, which can lead to the development of more positive working relationships with clients.
3. Big Data
Huge amounts of data are being created and stored thanks to technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). As a result, the role of an accountant is shifting away from basic data entry, to analysing and interpreting the available data. Accountants can use the wealth of data at their fingertips to provide better insights, give expert advice as well as forecasts. This can help with financial planning and support business leaders in making more effective decisions.
4. Mobile technology
The advancement of mobile technology has led us to rely more heavily on our mobile devices and this is having a big impact on the accounting industry too. Businesses want to be able to perform financial tasks such as recording receipts or sending invoices whilst away from their desks. Various mobile apps are being created (like Xero) which help businesses stay on top of their finances, even whilst on the go. Accountants can also access financial information wherever they are, breaking down any barriers to work.
Interested in working in the accounting industry?
Whilst we have already seen significant disruption to the accounting industry as a result of technology, we can expect to see even more changes in the future. Block chain, for example, may be something to transform the industry further. But we can also expect the accounting industry to transform in ways that haven’t yet even been imagined.
If you’re interested in the accounting and auditing industry, you will need to understand the fundamentals, but having a good understanding of technology, along with computer security is increasingly important. Analytical skills are also more important now than ever before. To stay relevant in this industry though, it will be vital to embrace change and continuously develop your skills to stay up to date with any future technical advancements.
Explore Open Colleges selection of accounting and bookkeeping courses now to help take your skills and career in finance to the next level.