Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the current tech buzz phrases except the hype is real and it’s ready for primetime.
We are all unwittingly exposed to AI in our everyday personal lives. It happens through social media, customer chat support, predictive texts on your phone and getting recommendations on Netflix. AI isn’t coming, it’s here and the Accounting Industry is in a great position to embrace it.
Repetitive and mundane manual tasks have often been a bugbear for accounting professionals. But with the advancement of cloud computing to include AI, these time-consuming and monotonous jobs can be automated.
Given the accounting industry’s heavy dependence on large amounts of data, AI is the perfect solution for automation as it can offer time savings, minimised costs, greater productivity, better accuracy and scale compared to a human workforce.
I don’t see AI replacing Accountants. AI will replace the menial tasks that will then allow Accountants to spend more time on meaningful work. AI is far more likely to help Accountants get work done than it is to replace them. It is ushering in a new standard of efficiency as people have more time to focus on tasks that require human interpretation and judgement. Much more of an Accountant’s day will be about strategy, insights, and outcomes as opposed to data entry and reconciliation. AI will enable you to take on more clients, be more productive and deliver more value through insight.
AI will automate data entry where data feeds are not available. And where data feeds are available, it will automatically categorise the transactions and match them to the documentation while also checking that everything reconciles.
Once the data is in your system, AI will also act as another set of eyes, except it will be watching 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year. AI will be able to detect problems and proactively alert the Accountant or client if required. This will enable Accountants to deliver an exceptional customer experience as it will be able to interpret data efficiently and quickly with highly personalised insights.
In our latest SuperMate release, we used AI commercially for the first time. We significantly improved annual tax statement processing by introducing AI to categorise and then extract the data from a tax statement document. This can be the actual PDF or even a photo of the tax statement taken by the Trustee. This means you will no longer have to enter in the components manually, just drag and drop the document onto the account record in Annual Tax Statements screen and let the AI do the data entry for you. We have trained the system on thousands of tax statements and its accuracy feels like magic.
I think it’s important to consider AI as your working partner, your own digital workforce at your beckon. It can work for you at any time of the day and scale quickly to help with increased load. It can enable you to make better decisions and stop you from having to do the repetitive tasks that nobody likes to do. Embrace it and your workday will become much more dynamic and enjoyable.
I’m delighted to say that we’ve been busy building some new software within the SuperConcepts Innovation Lab this year that will launch commercially in the first quarter of 2020. It will be the first SMSF software that will have AI at its core and will be a game-changer for our industry. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.