How AI is Revolutionizing Accounting

If you’re a young person or student who aspires to become an accountant in the future, there’s a wide range of steps you can take now to improve your chances of achieving your career goals. Examples include applying for accounting scholarships, interning at accounting firms, and studying for the CPA exam.

However, it’s also important to prepare for your eventual career by reviewing the ways innovative technologies have changed the nature of the job. For instance, artificial intelligence has begun to substantially impact the way accountants work.

The following are just a few noteworthy examples illustrating how accountants may need to adjust how they approach their roles due to AI. Keep them in mind as you pursue your career goals.

Accountants Have More Time for Various Tasks

Although the specific duties of an accountant may vary somewhat from one firm to another, in general, most accountants split their duties between tasks that involve some degree of critical thinking, such as determining how to maximize a client’s tax refund, and tasks that are more mundane, such as compiling and analyzing data.

Currently, AI is best-suited to the latter. An accountant can essentially “delegate” tasks that require less creativity to an AI. As AI becomes more widespread among accounting firms, this will continue to give accountants more time to focus on other duties. A young person with the goal of becoming an accountant should thus focus on cultivating the talents associated with those responsibilities.

Accountants May Take on More Clients

AI can analyze data and perform similar tasks with great accuracy much more efficiently than human workers. This reduces the amount of time accountants need to spend serving individual clients.

As a result, accountants may be able to reduce their fees. The less time an accountant needs to spend serving a client, the less they need to charge.

All that extra free time will also give accountants justification to take on more clients than they otherwise would have. Future accountants should prepare for this shift by placing greater emphasis on developing their interpersonal and memory skills.

Succeeding in this job often involves not only providing your clients with quality service “behind the scenes,” but also meeting with them directly to explain your services and strategies. Naturally, clients prefer when accountants treat them as individuals and strive to understand their specific needs. As such, if an accountant has more clients than they typically would thanks to AI freeing up their time, they’ll need to be better prepared to remember key details regarding their clients goals and overall backgrounds. They’ll also need to be more comfortable spending much of their time interacting with many different clients.

Greater Emphasis on Specialization

In general, AI will actually benefit accountants, helping them better serve their clients. That said, it’s worth noting that some accountants’ responsibilities primarily involve handling basic tasks, such as bookkeeping work.

Again, AI programs may soon be able to handle these tasks on their own. Humans will simply need to review their work to confirm its accuracy.

This will reduce the need for some types of accountants. Someone preparing to become an accountant must realize they’ll need to prioritize developing the skills that allow them to handle tasks beyond those that can be replaced by automation. Their goal should be to determine how they can specialize in certain types of accounting work that AI isn’t equipped to handle. They’ll also have to expect a greater degree of competition for jobs in the future.

However, industry experts tend to agree that accountants who embrace AI will benefit from doing so. None of this is meant to suggest AI advances should discourage someone from preparing for a career in this field. In fact, the emergence of AI solutions should excite future accountants.

Jenna Walter

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