Despite all the technological progress that has been made over the last 150 years, accounting has changed very little. The daily work of most accountants involved massive amounts of data entry, clerical work, and administrative routines. Spreadsheets may have replaced ledgers, but the role of the accountant never really evolved.
That is quickly changing with the advent of machine learning. This 21st century technology is still in its infancy, but already it’s having an impact on the accounting profession that is broad and deep. As the potential of machine learning continues to advance, look for the expectations of accountants to change radically.
What Makes Machine Learning Different?
Machine learning could have revolutionary implications. The concept of automation – machines operating on their own – has been around for decades. Machine learning builds on that concept by empowering automated process to become more effective through repetition and routine.
Now that so many workflows are digitized and connected, it’s possible to collect data on any process no matter how minute. That data can then be analyzed to identify improvements in efficiency, output, accuracy, etc. Machine learning builds this intelligence into the hardware and software itself so that automated processes improve automatically.
Where do Accounting and Machine Learning Meet?
It’s probably easier to picture machine learning in action on a factory floor rather than inside an accounting department, but the detailed and exact nature of accounting makes it ideally suited to systematic process improvements. In practice, accountants have more to gain from machine learning than almost any of their coworkers. These are just some of the most pronounced benefits:
- Accomplish More – Automated accounting process are lighting fast compared to human inputs. As machine learning automates more processes, the amount of work that accounting departments can complete will increase exponentially.
- Eliminate Errors – Manual inputs create a high risk of human error, the consequences of which can have huge financial penalties. When more of these inputs are handled by intelligent machines, the potential for errors and oversights drops significantly.
- Leverage Talent – Accountants are highly-trained professionals with a very specialized set of skills. When they can rely on machine learning to handle most of their routine workloads, accountants can dedicated their talents to more productive or ambitious projects.
- Ensure Compliance – Keeping up with expanding and evolving regulations is a major burden on accountants. Machine learning is uniquely capable of keeping pace with complicated systems/processes as they change over time.
To learn more about advances in accounting technology, contact us.