Will robots take over my job?! What is the future of accounting?Mar 10, 2023
Post ChatGPT there has been much discussion on AI replacing all our jobs.
If the changes in accounting software over the last 5 years is anything to go by, I think that it will certainly continue to change our role significantly.
We need to ensure that we grow and learn with these changing times.
In a detailed report, “The Future of Jobs Report” by the World Economic Forum, you can see that the traditional accounting role today will significantly reduce in demand heading into 2025 largely due to the improvement of technology:
As the world becomes more digital, the field of accounting must also evolve to keep up with the changes in technology. The traditional roles and responsibilities of accountants are being disrupted by automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
This has led to concerns about the future of accounting and whether the profession will remain relevant in the years to come.
I agree that the current role that finance departments have is going to be disrupted significantly. However, I don't believe that the role of the finance department is going to disappear within businesses and in fact could potentially expand.
I write about how finance leaders can add value to the business and become more relevant and have plenty of articles on this very topic.
It's also why I'm very passionate about teaching new finance leaders to really add value. The Management accounts course is a perfect example of how the accounting role has changed already. Instead of focusing on a quicker and more accurate Management accounts, like we did 5-10 years ago, the course is mainly focused on how to show insight, how to be interesting, how to improve Commercial and business decisions.
This is the area whereby accountants will spend more time in and should continue to expand their knowledge and upskill to be more comfortable in this area.
Junior roles of data entry and repetitive tasks are absolutely going dissolve. However instead of doing these tasks, junior accountants can work with the software / robots / AI and manage these tools. Set the rules for these tools to work within. Look for anomalies and spend time liaising with the business.
Looking again at the World Economic Forum report, the types of tasks that will be primarily driven by humans rather than bots include these value adding activities:
Nearly all of the top 15 skills are what a Finance leader should either have or learning to develop so that they can really impact the business in a positive way.
Despite the potential for automation and other technologies to disrupt the accounting profession, the outlook for the industry remains positive. The demand for skilled accountants is expected to remain strong particularly in industry and within businesses.
There is a growing need for accountants to provide strategic guidance and insights to organisations, particularly in areas such as financial planning, risk management, and compliance. Therefore, the role of accountants is expected to become more strategic and less transactional in nature.
While there are many opportunities for accountants in the future, there are also several challenges to consider. One significant challenge is the need for accountants to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies.
Unfortunately we can't bury our head in the sand and just pretend that this isn't happening. It's happening!
Accountants can be still very reliant on excel (guilty!) and while excel has been amazing over the last decade, it is now time to step it up and find out how to replace all of your excel tasks.
By embracing emerging technologies, developing new skills, and focusing on providing strategic value to organisations, accountants can help shape the future of the accounting profession.
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