Will AI Replace Accountants? Over the last few years AI has taken over almost every spehere of life, Accounting included. Accountants are important for organizations and businesses. They insure they provide insights into key decision making by analyzing data and ensuring financial records are correct. Amongst their roles is auditing, tax compliance, preparing financial statements, and bookkeeping. Recent advances in AI has had industry leaders worry that AI will move from creating powerful tools that will enhance accounting to replacing accountants all together, as AI has shown capabilities to replace people in any industry of human endeavour.
In fact, Microsoft in a survey discovered that 90% of businesses wants to use AI. Also, AI could very well take over accounting as a lot of accounting functions are repetitive or manual: things like journal entries and month end reporting are similar to writing a copy or a content of five hundred words without backlinks. AI in accounting is also speculated to go north of USD $39.57 or more by 2030.
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On the other hand, accounting has tasks that need years of learning and professional experience and needs humans that can operate AI to bring out it’s fullest potentials and that understands the nuances between variables. This two ends leads to a controversy that this article will answer: Will AI replace accountants?
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Functions of Accountants and the possibility of AI replacing them
1. Maintaining the Account Books: The accountant in a business outfit or firm is expected to maintain the account books. In order words, they are expected to maintain transactions of the firm.
There is higher completeness and accuracy with AI and record keeping. Now there is hassle-free accounting and no need for manual data entry. This has reduced the scope of data recording errors.
2. Companies or businesses need their accounts to be audited when they exceed a certain limit in turn over. Auditing is compulsory.
Applying auditing to artificial intelligence has grown. Things like reporting, analysis and data input are being automated by AI. This has helped to cut expenses and boast productivity. Using AI to audit may also bring about data security threats and ethical issues. Let’s examine some of the advantages and disadvantages of using AI to audit:
A) Enhanced effectiveness: Data input and analysis may now be automated by AI. Prior to AI, they were imputed manually. Auditors may perform their work effectively and have more time to focus on complex tasks.
B) Lowercosts: AI assists in the cost of auditing by automating processes that where hetherto done manually. Cost is lowered because the audit is done faster.
C) Better Analysis: It offers better Analysis that helps auditors to see trends that may be challenging to spot, such as possible fraud and biases in an audit.
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Disadvantages of AI in auditing:
A) Transparency issues: It may be difficult to spot inaccuracies in the auditing process, it may be challenging to comprehend its judgements, and for someone who isn’t skilled in the use of AI it would be challenging to comprehend how the AI does its work.
B) Integration Issues: The cost of AI integration could be a lot. Educating potential users of AI could also pose difficulties. Again, enabling AI to provide the current audit procedures that you need could pose a problem as the wrong information could be inputed and the AI could provide the wrong info.
C) Ethical issues: AI may give more weight to other info than the others, such that, if a human was to perform the audit, then they would give all the audit output the same energy. Also, using AI to completely replace humans could make them lose their jobs and would lead to a waste of potential information that the humans have gotten that would benefit the organization.
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3) Taxation: Part of the job of an accountant is to handle the tax matters of an individual or a firm. The area of taxation is a complex area. AI cannot replace the strategic thinking and complex thinking that tax professionals bring to the table. AI may only be able to assist with data analysis and compliance.
Also, the tax profession is regulated and this regulations were brought up by people who will continue to oversee and change this regulations. Humans will also not be able to blindly trust AI with things that involves money.
AI is meant to help humans to augment their output as regards the tax profession rather than replace them. However, AI is a rapidly evolving area and it is difficult to predict where exactly AI could go to in the future, so let’s watch and see whether it would impact the area of tax.
4) Cost and Management Accountant: Plays an overall role in the cost and management of a company’s accounts. AI can be used to analyse past data and make future predictions easily. This will help accounts make accurate forecasts and make better predictions.
AI can also help to make automative and repetitive tasks easier. Accountants can spend less time on manual data entry and more time on analysing data to make strategic decisions and thinking.
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5) Financial Advice: Skilled accountants with many years of experience can provide financial advice either for individuals, companies, businesses or firms.
AI can help in financial advice to predict future financial cash flow and allocate resources. The advantage of AI leads to cost savings, increased efficiency and competitive advantage. Though human input in this area should never be underated, as humans who are living in the moment may be able to make predictions as regards what they are seeing. Also, AI only uses past data to make predictive analysis, and what if this predictions are totally different from what obtains in reality in the future because of a sesmic shift that happens in the present.
6) The accountants helps to pay salary to the employees: Accountants help to pay the salaries and wages that are accrued to the employees. AI could impact this area by helping with automated transfer of money to the various employees of the organization.
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In conclusion, whether you are an accountant or not reading this post don’t be scared of AI. AI is not a threat to accountants but a help mate. AI helps to automate repetitive processes and allows humans to engage in key decision making and worker client relationship. AI can’t replace Accountants because AI doesn’t give that touch that humans give to accounting such as maintaining good client relationship, understanding and interpreting complex financial data and making analysis on the spot.
Accounting will evolve with the integration of AI. Just like writing, AI would help accountants just like the computer, PC and the Android phone helps writers. Humans have to communicate to the AI what they want so that it would give it to them like they want; because, as they say, garbage in garbage out. With AI, there would be a shift to more valuable accountants.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.