Since its inception in the industry, automation has been threatening several jobs with obsolescence, and accounting is one of them.
According to an article published in The Economist, 47% of job categories are ready for automation, and this number is only expected to grow within a decade. Surprisingly, accountants are the second highest in terms of risk.
Don’t panic out though, because automation is still nascent. No wonder, it is the new buzzword in the accounting industry, digitization is still in its early stages, even for companies that are at the forefront of adopting new technologies.
The Financial Times also reported that the evolution of automation has already started affecting the hiring practices and AI tools are being used to replace work that used to be performed manually. This practice of automation will lead to a sizeable decrease in human employment.
As technology takes over and becomes increasingly sophisticated and omnipresent, accountants must work on improving their skills to negate the risks of obsolescence. The roles like ledger maintenance, AR & AP management may be endangered but those requiring high-skills like financial planning, analysis and business control would still remain under high demand.
Automation will generate new skilled jobs in the long run. The impact may not be imminent as predicted, as long as accountants are open to inventing themselves and emerge to be smarter and stronger.
Automation in the accounting industry has made things easier. When we talk about commercial finance that requires information from across business divisions like sales, logistics, production, marketing to be analyzed, automation has really helped manage everything easily. Advancements in data science and AI has changed the way businesses are perceived and have generated insights that lead to major productivity improvements.
Are accountants at the risk of being replaced by robots?
Well, the automation in the transactional work is inevitable and accountants will need to stay relevant by offering value-add to businesses. Competition may get stiff with lesser jobs and demand for higher quality accountants who provide sound business judgement while upholding business efficiency.
Nevertheless, automation is not completely ready to replace human labor, especially in advisory and strategic insights. Sure, we will see some smart software and systems replacing manual work, but the role of accountants will also evolve as it always has.
People are irreplaceable, however advance systems and technology may get. Robots cannot work and discuss with stakeholders to improve finance and plan strategies. Accounting professionals with a strong business acumen are here to stay. Advancements will allow them to have time to be more strategic and become true business partners. The only need will be to stay abreast with change to maintain a competitive edge and develop skills, which employers will increasingly be on a lookout for.