The world of artificial intelligence and human collaboration is not confined to Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke’s books anymore. With the recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, many applications are emerging to aid and intelligently automate the work processes in a business. And accounting is not behind, either.
The paradigm shift in the storage and access of data is the first hint to a route towards (AI). The cloud serves as its primary back, and has become the most reliable and popular place to store data, with programming interfaces called APIs acting as the keys to access the information at any time, from any place and device.
Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant are just a few examples of artificial intelligence (and its cousin, machine learning) at play. These digital assistants provide a personalised service to each individual, depending on the attributes that they learn about you.
Professional Artificial Intelligence and its Possibilities
The prospect of AI in the corporate sector is fascinating. There are endless possibilities for businesses to design and redesign their strategies to provide the best service to their customers and to automate everything that can be automated. But to understand those possibilities and realities, we need to take a quick review of how that can be made possible.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is built on the foundation of raw data from millions of users. Machine learning dishes out the steps and insights that can boost the performance and efficiency of any business by eliminating the repetitive and monotonous tasks. And it will do this by learning the data, and updating the whole process if important information is updated.
The accounting software today is getting smarter than ever, automatically performing tasks that you would generally take hours to complete. Consider tasks like payrolling: they can be automated so that you only need to provide your approval for the figures—everything else will be completely automated! Capium has already taken a lead in this and implemented the Auto-Payroll successfully.
Other examples of industries where AI is being used to improve the workflow are:
- Healthcare: The NHS is testing an AI-powered chatbot in North London, on the 111 non-emergency helpline. According to Telegraph, the 6-month trial plans to “reduce pressure on the NHS during the winter and beyond.”
- Bank: The Bank of Scotland is launching Luvo, a natural language processing chatbot that will answer NatWest, RBS, and Ulster bank customer queries and perform simple tasks like money transfers. RBS’s Head of Digital, Chris Popple says that the aim is to “make digital customer support as powerful as face-to- face.”
- Online retail: Ocado is building a network of 4G-connected robots aided by a computer vision system. These will replace their existing barcode scanning procedures in warehouses. Daniel Nelson, the Head of Data at Ocado’s technology division, said, “What we want is a system that can basically learn when a new variable becomes important.”
How Can Artificial Intelligence Benefit Accountants?
With such significant advances in AI and machine learning, the question that accountants and accounting firms need to ask themselves is: “How will this affect me?”
Although it can seem frightening how quickly AI is replacing manpower, smart accountants don’t need to fear. AI complements brain power instead of competing against it. It does the heavy lifting of repetitive tasks, calculations, and verifying information, while you are left free to offer the emotional intelligence that is required to deal with clients directly, assessing their problems and choosing solutions. As a result, joining hands with AI and machine learning will make you a more productive accountant (or accounting firm), and will allow you to handle more clients, while delivering value through insight.
Ending with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke,
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
We simply need to make accounting magical with the help of AI and machine learning.