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Bookkeepers, accounts clerks will lose 40% of tasks to AI


Traditional accounting roles will be among the white-collar jobs most impacted by the technology, research shows.

By Philip King 13 minute read

Bookkeepers and accounts clerks will lose almost 40 per cent of their tasks to artificial intelligence, according to research by global learning company Pearson.

It found that generative AI would have a greater impact on white collar jobs than blue collar jobs in the next 10 years and bookkeepers would be among the most impacted of roles, second only to medical receptionists.

The study said 42 per cent of a medical receptionist’s work would by affected by AI, potentially cutting the role from 40 hours a week to a fraction of that time.


For accounts clerks and bookkeepers, the research showed 39 per cent of the role’s hours would be impacted, with bank workers and data entry operators just behind on 37 per cent.

“The research finds that white collar roles are under greater threat from generative AI than blue collar roles, as the technology takes a greater foothold in the global economy,” the survey said.

“Looking specifically at the time spent on individual tasks in a working week, the research shows that around 30 per cent of some white-collar roles could be done by generative AI. The findings also showed that less than 1 per cent of time spent on tasks involved in many blue-collar jobs could be done by generative AI.”

“Many of the most affected white-collar roles contain repetitive tasks – such as scheduling appointments or answering and directing calls – that could be easily replicated by generative AI. The white-collar roles that are most generative AI proof tend to be the ones involving tasks related to mathematics, like engineers.” 

It said the least impacted white-collar roles were electrical and civil engineers, CEOs and managing directors.

For blue-collar workers, the most impacted would be restaurant, café and hotel managers while some jobs, such as landscape gardeners or meat packers, would not be hit at all.

Pearson Workforce Solutions vice-president for AI and data science Dr Richard George said many blue-collar roles that included manual labour or customer service elements would be largely untouched until AI and robotics converged.

For vulnerable white-collar workers, there was a chance to train and learn new skills.

“Those in white collar roles should take it on themselves to upskill and evolve – enhancing soft skills like creativity, communication and leadership, skills that can’t be easily replicated by generative AI,” he said.

“Workers should also be learning about how to use generative AI to become more efficient at repetitive tasks, so they can improve productivity by spending more time on high value activities."

“At a company level, those that are risk-averse will be surpassed by ones ready to adapt. Not only will they destroy shareholder value, they are also letting down their employees by not upskilling them in these new technologies.

“We've seen this time and time again, for example a lagging transition to digital and on a more granular level, failing to grasp the power of social media.”

The Pearson Skills Outlook research used AI tools to analyse the specific tasks related to more than 5,000 jobs and how much time was currently spent on each. It then calculated how much of a job’s work, by time spent on individual tasks, would be affected by generative AI.

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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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