Transforming accounting through technology

Transfer Accounting Through Technology

Transforming accounting through technology
How to embrace big data, AI and blockchain for a better tomorrow

The accounting profession has been adapting to technology since the invention of the abacus in the second century BC. Now, with the explosion of big data, the increasing affordability of advanced analytics, and the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, the industry is entering a new era of transformation.

This digital transformation will revolutionise the practice of accountancy and have implications for entire businesses, societies and economies. By embracing the technological changes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Chartered Accountants can ensure they remain relevant and discover new opportunities for efficiency and innovation.

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Big data, characterised by its volume, velocity, and variety, presents both challenges and opportunities for the accountancy profession. While the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming, advanced analytics can derive significant insights to improve planning and forecasting of future outcomes through patterns and outliers.

Chartered Accountants can also leverage social listening and social co-creation research, utilising AI technology to gather insights that aid decision-making, identify early signs of problems, and advise on corrective action. Many serious problems are preceded by these early signs, such as employees talking on social media or in news articles.

When JP Morgan acquired First Republic Bank in May, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva explained the reason why deposits moved away from First Republic at such great speed was partly due to the power of social media.

Big data is not just an important trend in its own right; it also played a critical role in driving advancements in machine learning. In recent years, the faster-than-expected widespread adoption of AI across various business areas has been possible because of big data and the ability of machines to process it and learn from it at rapid speed.

AI and automation are already impacting back-office roles such as bookkeeping, accounts and payroll processing, and budgeting. Chartered Accountants must now upskill and learn to use automation to their advantage to free up time and focus more on value-added cognitive activities.

AI might be able to generate reports at the touch of a button, but accountants can provide the meaningful insights and opinions to steer businesses on their most impactful paths.

However, one significant concern with AI is that it can be prone to biases due to the nature of its algorithms. These biases can perpetuate existing inequalities and result in unfair outcomes. The accountancy profession can contribute to the development of standards and must comply with relevant standards in its development and use of AI. It can also help to provide assurance over AI to ensure it remains fair and unbiased. Doing so will build trust in AI and allow accountants to harness its full potential.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchains are also exciting technologies that have the potential to change the whole monetary landscape with instant transaction and ownership recording. However, blockchain technology is still in its early stages and cryptocurrencies are in a state of high volatility and low trust.

The lack of oversight and regulation makes them more susceptible to market manipulation and fraud. Due to these risks, businesses have been slow to adopt them. Regulation is crucial to fill the gap left by blind trust.

While these new technologies present challenges for the accountancy profession, they also bring significant benefits. Ultimately, the role of finance teams will remain the same; providing timely insights to drive commercial outcomes and greater efficiency.

The difference is the pace of change will accelerate making upskilling essential so that Chartered Accountants can use these technologies to deliver a better tomorrow.

Source: Arabian Business

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Zayd Maniar
Zayd Maniar
Managing Partner