AI is Entering Accounting

More times than I can count lately, I have heard “that is something from a sci-fi movie,” regarding consumer technology. Mark Zuckerberg has programmed his house to automate as soon as he arrives. Does this make anyone else think of the opening credits of the Jetsons when George arrives home? (I just aged myself perhaps.) So what does this all mean for our business life?

A year ago I wrote, “Do I have to think about that?” If we look at what was referenced here, that is what Zuckerberg did; he automated to a level few of us would get to, but look where we are. Did you get an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot for Christmas? If so you are probably still figuring out all you can do with it. We bought one for my 70-year-old dad; he can now say “living room lights on” and voilà! No tripping over a cat in the dark reaching for the light. Families can fill up the grocery shopping list using Alexa instead of yelling at dad to remember to add “x” to the list. It enhances our ability to collaborate and communicate. Accounting Today recently wrote about a company in England that is now going to use “Alexa” technology in accounting apps for accountants and their clients. What is next?

Sixteen years ago, many accounting professionals didn’t think paperless was possible, and now we have artificial intelligence (AI) in our offices. Deloitte is using it to extract information from complex documents, KPMG is using it for audits. Expensify has built in an artificial intelligence assistant called Concierge. Mac computers have it built into the operating system. (As we can see this is not just for the largest firms.) Daniel Burrus teaches us to ask, is the use of AI a hard trend or soft trend. A hard trend is defined as a trend that is a future fact, we know it will continue to develop, like we know band width will continue to improve. I would say AI is a hard trend; more technology is leveraging AI to support us and functioning well within the tools.

The question for you is, where do you see it helping your daily activities? Are you communicating those suggestions to your software providers, or are you in a position to build an app? Are your clients considering this advancement and how it impacts their industry? We are leaving the realm of sci-fi and entering a state of expectation and anticipation! I am excited to see how this all continues to develop. What are you excited to see next?

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The of International Certified Professional Accountants Startup Accelerator is an annual program that finds, invests in, and guides early-stage tech companies with solutions that support accounting and finance professionals. This blog series provides a deeper look at the five companies in the 2021 cohort.