You may have seen – and be concerned by – news reports that the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) are starting to threaten some people’s jobs. This includes AI in accounting – but instead of seeing AI as a threat, accountants and financial advisers should embrace it.
Why? Because your competitors will be using AI to get one step ahead in areas like overall productivity and efficiency – so you will get left behind if you don’t create an IT Strategy which includes it.
The truth is AI presents many opportunities for accountants. It is not reliable or advanced enough to do all the roles of an Accountancy firm. But, if you use its capabilities to enhance the roles of your team, this is where you will gain. AND, your firm will be more attractive to recruits who expect businesses to provide modern workplace solutions.
AI allows your people to grow and develop by automating some of the repetitive and mundane tasks so they can focus on other activities that require human skills such as strategic planning, client advisory and critical thinking.
In the accountancy industry, some of the brands you may use already have AI incorporated into their services and software, including Sage, Xero and QuickBooks.
How to embrace AI in accounting as part of your IT strategy
- The first step to embracing AI is to review your tech with an IT expert in terms of its current performance. Without regular reviews the security of your data could be at risk and your staff may not be as efficient and productive as they could be. Reviews reduce risk and ensure you are spending your IT budget wisely. For example, without reviews you may well be spending money on software and systems you don’t use. And you might be missing out on productivity savings from features or automation in your software that you never knew you had!
- Once you’ve reviewed your current tech to see where IT is holding you back, creating risk and demotivating your team, you can start to develop an IT Strategy, including AI, to move your business forward.
- You should have a budgeted annual IT plan with measurable set objectives to help you manage business risks and achieve your business goals.
8 areas where accountants can save time and money using AI
- Automating repetitive tasks like Data Entry: the extraction and entry of data from invoices, receipts, and other financial documents can be automated to reduce the time spent on manual data entry tasks – and this would also reduce the risk of human errors.
- Automating routine bookkeeping tasks like categorising transactions, reconciling accounts and generating financial reports.
- Analysing, budgeting, reporting and forecasting – AI can identify and predict patterns in large datasets and can compare two or more data sources. It can analyse historical financial and non-financial data and predict future trends. AI’s valuable for investment planning, cash flow management, balance sheets and income statements. And it will provide insights on profitability, cost optimization, and revenue growth.
- Credit control – because AI analyses both historical and real-time data and identifies patterns, it can help inform financial planning and decisions about lending risk. For example, it can use data to predict the likelihood that a client could default on a loan.
- Fraud detection – it can pinpoint potentially fraudulent activity by flagging anomalies for further scrutiny, enabling accountants to detect potential fraud faster and act to mitigate risks.
- Tax compliance and planning automation – for tax planning, AI can be used to analyse financial data to identify potential credits, deductions and exemptions. And tax calculations/compliance processes can be automated to monitor regulatory filings, ensuring that financial statements are accurate and comply with applicable tax regulations.
- Audits – due to AI’s ability to analyse a large amount of data and identify anomalies, as well as collect data and prepare reports, it can enhance the efficiency of audit processes.
- Risk management – from providing insights into threats and potential risks to an organisation’s overall security, to helping to manage contractual risk, AI can help accountants assess potential compliance issues, regulatory violations, or internal control weaknesses.
So, by reviewing your tech and including time and money savers like AI in accounting, you can ensure your accountancy firm is productive, efficient – and attracts the best recruits – and clients!
If you are worried that your IT is wasting your time or that your investments in tech aren’t delivering – and you would like to discuss things with an IT expert – do get in touch by calling 0330 124 3599 or by completing the form below.