You were just starting to get comfortable with the idea of the cloud and then—bam—here comes artificial intelligence. Global spend in AI systems reached roughly $12.5 billion in 2017, and experts are predicting that this powerful innovation will be “the future of accounting.” But what exactly does that mean? What are AI’s implications for your business? And, honestly, what’s all the fuss about?
Technology changes fast, and to keep your business competitive in this ever-evolving landscape, you need to stay on top of new trends. Here are a few questions I hear most often from clients about AI and accounting, along with the answers you need to enjoy a bit more peace of mind.
What is AI?
Gartner defines AI as “technology that appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions, appearing to understand complex content, engaging in natural dialogs, enhancing human cognitive performance, or replacing people in execution of non-routine tasks.”
I like to think of artificial intelligence as the Incredible Hulk of automation. While automation is limited and designed to follow pre-programed rules, artificial intelligence has the incredible power to amplify human strength and capabilities. It can distill enormous amounts of data into actionable intelligence within seconds, scale complex tasks, and learn from experience.
How Will AI Affect Accounting?
Get excited, because AI’s ability to automate complex tasks has the potential to solve some of your biggest business challenges. In short, AI will help you make smarter business decisions faster and in real-time. It can also transform your business’ level of efficiency and productivity.
As repetitive tasks are taken on by machines, executives will have more time on their hands to analyze and interpret data rather than having to lock themselves away in the back office to crunch numbers. For accountants, specifically, this means unlocking the freedom to step into advisory-type roles within their companies.
“The goal of AI is to let machines perform the time-consuming tasks, freeing up time for accountants to do the serious thinking and to exercise professional judgment on more complex matters.” – Ian Howells, CMO, Sage Intacct
Here are a few more ways accounting is likely to be affected by AI:
- Accounting errors will virtually be eliminated.
- Auditing will become a breeze with the ability to quickly analyze and interpret thousands of pages of financial documents.
- Regulatory compliance will become much easier to manage with AI’s real-time monitoring capabilities.
- Bank reconciliation will become automated as AI eliminates manual processes.
- Fraud will decrease as AI analyzes and interprets large volumes of customer data and easily detects irregular behavior.
- Invoicing will become less of a headache as AI intervenes to apply payments accurately and automate invoice categorization.
In my opinion, the future is bright for AI and accounting. Ready to explore AI-enabled cloud accounting solutions? I’d love to help you find the perfect fit for your business. Shoot me a quick note or give me a call at 714-282-0378.