Chamber Chat – Sam Price, ICS Accounting
Similar to many industries, a hot topic amongst accountants is the role that technology can play.
The solutions offered by new software enables business owners to have an increasing opportunity to utilise tech to work more efficiently. Cloud accounting packages such as Xero, Quickbooks and FreeAgent are intelligent, and will reduce the time spent keeping on top of the books considerably. With a little help from the user, they will spot trends in entries, and second-guess how you want to record a transaction. Instead of having to manually process every entry, items are presented for review with a simple tick box. Recently, I worked with a client who had ‘not kept on top of things’ and with round 10,000 transactions that needed organising they were able to get back up to date in just a matter of days. Without the help of technology, entering each transaction manually could have taken weeks.
These technological advancements are not unique to accountancy. Customer Service is increasingly being developed where a chat conversation with a ‘bot’ is an option. Driverless cars will be on our roads in the not-too-distant future, which will be an interesting challenge for taxi drivers.
Our partners FreeAgent, believes that AI will render manual bookkeeping redundant in a matter of years. Deloitte, believe that half of all finance and insurance jobs are at high risk of total automation. Their report, alongside Oxford University featured on the BBC website, with a tool to check ‘Will a robot take your job?’ Tele-salespeople, typists and secretaries were considered at highest risk, while therapists, school inspectors and publicans the lowest.
So how should we feel about machines ‘taking our jobs’? It is not difficult to look in the history books and see plenty of ‘false dawns’. Will technology replace the need for an accountant? Absolutely not. But it does mean that an accountant needs to change the way they work? Yes. Will a machine be able to implement systems, interpret and analyse results, advise on strategy, congratulate on success or console on failure? We should all see technology as an opportunity to rethink what we do and how to deliver it in a smarter way.