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Big Data, AI And The Uncertain Future For Accountants
October 7, 2016 News Accountants AI big data


Not that long ago, accountants were often – and in a slightly derogatory way – referred to as “paper pushers” because of the vast quantities of paper records and receipts they dealt with.

But these days, everything is going digital.  In fact, a child born today might never need to handle paper money in her life (save, perhaps, the bit of money left by the tooth fairy…). More and more, it’s not just the money that’s gone digital, but everything that goes along with it as well: receipts, record-keeping, audits, taxes, etc.

In fact, accountants have been instrumental in helping design the very software that could signal their demise.

Over the years, accounting software has become easier and easier to use. At first, it was little more than a digital spreadsheet for recording transactions, with a few extra features and reporting functions thrown in. Today, accounting software can automatically import transactions, keep track of digital receipts, automating payroll and keeping track of taxes.

User-friendly and low cost accounting software based in the cloud has exploded in the past few years, including not just industry leader QuickBooks online, but also FreshBooks, Xero, Mint and Wave, for example, all providing easy-to-use, low-cost accounting software to individuals and small businesses. And the startups are offering more and more robust features to users as well.

 Automation is usually the turning point for when computers can begin to take over tasks that were once the sole purview of humans. Accounting software that connects to the web can now easily automate the tedious and time-consuming task of entering transactions by downloading the digital information and records from various financial institutions. Only cash and check transactions need to be entered by hand, and with the increasing digitization of financial transactions, soon everything will be recorded.