AI holds a future in the workplace, but Rosie the Robot Maid isn;t likely to become Rosie the Reporting Genius or Rosie the Tax Accountant anytime soon. In our last post, we explored some of the myths about AI and robots in the workplace, as well as some of the basic use cases (i.e. taking on mundane, repetitive, and laborious tasks). Today, we would like to dig into some of these use cases further, providing a framework for bringing robots into the finance department, the AP process, and more.
When and Where AI, RPA, and Robotics Fit into Your Organization
As mentioned yesterday, AI will have a vital role in accounting and finance, but is not destined to replace anyone in the accounting department—so long as your job includes some element of interpretation, interaction, and communication. This said, there are certain roles where computers will make your job easier, save time and money, and ultimately allow you to put your focus on what matters—informing business decisions.
Knowing this, a recent Sage Intacct blog explored the value of AI in accounting, discussing five of the most probable areas in which this technology will fit:
- Easing the Audit Process: Auditing is notoriously labor intensive, with professionals needing to peruse thousands of pages of documents in order to seek out the truth. Technology will be a godsend for this, as AI will be able to summarize documents and contracts in seconds, rather than days or weeks. It can check and crossfoot debit and credit entries allowing analysis of larger populations of data than traditional sampling, thus freeing up valuable auditor time to focus on areas requiring significant judgment and expertise.
- Simplify Risk Management: Another key selling point for AI is the ability to reduce paperwork, detect fraudulent transactions, and ultimately create a lower-risk environment. With AI, natural language processing uses algorithms to analyze text and uncover discrepancies with tax payments, for example, while also having the capacity to self-learn and avoid false-positives if previous suspicions of fraud were proven to be incorrect.
- Invoice Processing and Other Automation: We’ve discussed the role of technology in invoice automation and reconciliation in depth, and as technology continues to advance, it’s expected that AI will improve the process even further. AI is about knowledge, not just data, and the real benefit for accountants’ clients will stem from taking multiple software systems and letting them talk to each other.
- Regulatory Compliance: Going beyond Audit and Risk Management, AI poses another benefit that will let CFOs, Controllers, and even the legal department rest easier. In this, AI could fit well into the regulatory compliance and reporting process, making monitoring easier and informing decisions related to tax, insurance, and even IP claims.
- Trend Analytics: AI and machine learning will allow organizations to take large and complex data sets and make high-quality predictions from the data, potentially giving clients an edge in their field of business.
Forging Ahead with Modern Accounting Technology
It’s an exciting time in the accounting department. Better technology, more information, an ever-changing regulatory landscape, and more changes on the horizon—now is the time for businesses to position themselves for what’s next. If you’re looking to learn about what’s next in the world of accounting, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on the skills needed in the future of accounting, and please subscribe to our email list and contact us for more information.