The Future of Accounting

Accountants are Technology Trend Setters

Yes, you heard correctly – those shy, quiet, studious people in the back office have traditionally set trends in technology.

The need to accurately record crop harvests, and herd counts, to the sales of goods and services, created the need for tools that could perform increasingly complicated calculations.

The abacus dates to 2700-2300 BC and was created to assist with simple calculations. Fast forward to the early 1960s when the first solid-state electronic calculator was introduced. In 1978 electronic spreadsheets ushered in a new era. In the early 1980’s accounting software made huge leaps in technology with the introduction of software that could be installed on desktop computers.

With expanding government regulations and financial complexity, is it any wonder that the accounting profession is at the forefront of adopting the latest trends in technology like cloud-based accounting solutions that leverage the use of AI?

What does the future of accounting look like?

COVID changed how and where we work.

With COVID, we saw a greater need for solutions that allowed staff to work remotely. Many organizations were able to pivot by using VPNs and remote desktop access. However, the increase in cybersecurity threats has finance leaders considering more secure technology solutions.

Labor shortage drives automation

More organizations are looking to automate processes as the labor market becomes more competitive. According to Kevin Comley, Director of the Sage Intacct Accountants Program (SIAP) and one of Accounting Today’s top 100 most influential people in 2021, “talent and staffing is the single biggest issue right now,” and “a shortage of good quality people is driving investment in technologies that automate things that were done manually in the past to decrease the people time required to do the work which improves both efficiencies and capacity.”

Key areas that can be automated are:

  • Automate general ledger entries and error/anomaly detection to eliminate inaccurate entries and streamline consolidations.
  • Adopt robotic process automation (RPA) to accelerate or eliminate repetitive tasks, freeing up staff to focus on issues that require human interaction.
  • Implement dynamic allocations and consolidations to reduce the time to perform month-end close and compile accurate financials.
  • Use bank feed functionality to automate the reconciliation process.
  • Employ the use of email scanning to receive vendor invoices and automate the data entry process. Adopt automation of approvals and streamline accounts payable processing.
  • Deploy emailing customer invoices with autopay links to increase cash flow and reduce the need for processing checks.

Investments in artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to grow.

In small to medium organizations, AI will be applied to automate routine tasks, increase efficiency, and extend productivity. Shortages of labor and increase labor costs will drive the need for small to medium size companies to adopt AI and RPA to remain competitive.

Competition drives the need for key performance indicators, data analysis, and reporting.

The need to analyze data from multiple sources and automate the collection of that data will empower companies to make quick decisions. Finance leaders need up-to-date information often pulling data into their financial system from other programs such as point of sale, websites, electronic medical records, and payroll programs.

Solutions that provide Application Programming Interface (API) will integrate programs, providing timely and accurate data to tell the story of an organization. Therefore, eliminating time-consuming exports, disconnected data sources, and labor-intensive spreadsheets.

As you can see, the future of the accounting profession is bright. The need for highly qualified individuals along with evolving technology makes for exciting times.

To learn more about how technology can assist your organization, feel free to contact us.