Lately, I have felt like I am in the middle of a sci-fi movie. This may not be strange to some, but for an accountant at a public accounting firm, this is not the norm. As accountants, we are generally associated with being inundated with paper, or to the younger generation commonly referred to as millennials (which I am pretty sure is not a well-received generational nickname but I guess it is more creative than previous generational nicknames like generation X and generation Y… but that’s for another blog on another day) accountants are thought of as being inundated with computer monitors displaying electronic versions of paper.
What accountants are not commonly associated with by any generation is advanced technology, robots, and fairy tale-like adventures. However, lately, every few articles I read from reputable accounting and business industry outlets (and I read many of these articles because I like to live dangerously and lead quite an exciting life) are about robo-this and robo-that and the beginning of accounting and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) being used and tested by very large accounting firms in various ways to improve efficiencies and provide more value to clients/business owners.
Does this mean that robots will be doing your taxes and performing audits of your financial statements in the next few years? I sure hope not because robots seem to have a lot less external responsibilities and won’t be concerned with maintaining a work-life balance so it will be tough for us humans to compete with that when it comes to employment. But in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone can accurately predict exactly where AI will eventually lead, whether in accounting or any other industry.
But what I do know is that AI has the potential to help provide accountants with a lot of very useful information quickly, which can lead to accountants combining that information with the use of their professional judgment to do their jobs more efficiently and get through a voluminous amount of information much quicker.
It’s a very interesting development but one that I can’t help my mind from automatically linking to sci-fi action type movies like the Terminator series or A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Hopefully the AI/robot accountants will appreciate the “dress for your day” approach some public accounting firms, including ours, are taking and won’t get tired of humans and decide to try to take over the world one day.