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Are accountants still on the chopping block of automation?

on 5 June 2024


Posted by Wayne Pope

As far back as 2014, a chilling prediction was made: 47 per cent of job categories could face automation within the next two decades.

For accountants and auditors, this forecast was particularly dire, as they ranked second on the list of professions most at risk.

Fast forward to today, and these projections are becoming a stark reality for many – especially now that AI systems like ChatGPT have been developed to a high standard.

So, if you are an accountant, you might – understandably – be feeling the pressure.

But before you despair, it is crucial to understand that this transformation presents both a challenge and an opportunity.

The way we see it, accountants have two choices:

1.     Become the latest victim of automation and risk going out of business through a stubbornness to react.

2.     Embrace this technological revolution and evolve into a more advisory role, leveraging digital tools to continue providing invaluable services.

With that said, let’s explore what each path might look like.

The first path: Succumbing to automation

Imagine a world where software performs every task you were originally trained for.

The repetitive, time-consuming tasks like bookkeeping, data entry, and basic tax preparation can now be done by algorithms faster and more accurately than any human – that’s now a reality, by the way.

For those who resist change, this could mean the end of their careers as they know them.

Accountants who choose to ignore the march of technology may find themselves outpaced and outpriced by automated solutions.

The harsh truth is that clients will always gravitate towards more efficient, cost-effective options.

So, if your practice relies solely on traditional accounting services, yes, you are still on the chopping block of automation.

The second path: Embracing transformation

But there is another way.

By embracing automation, accountants can transform their roles and continue to thrive – rather than seeing technology as a threat, you can see it as an ally.

Automation can handle the groundwork, freeing you to focus on higher-value tasks.

This shift allows you to become a trusted adviser, offering insights and strategies that no machine can replicate.

Imagine harnessing the power of advanced analytics and information-gathering technology to provide deeper, more nuanced financial advice.

Picture yourself guiding clients through complex decisions, backed by a streamlined process derived from enhanced cloud-based systems.

By upskilling and adopting new technologies – which are already available on the market – you can enhance your service offering and remain indispensable to your clients.

The road ahead

The choice is clear, but not necessarily easy.

Adapting to this new landscape requires a willingness to learn and evolve continuously.

It means staying updated with the latest technological advancements and integrating them into your practice.

It involves a shift from a transactional mindset to a relational one, where your value is measured by the quality of your advice, not just the efficiency of your number-crunching.

So, the question is not whether accountants are still on the chopping block of automation.

The real question is: will you be a victim of this change, or will you seize the opportunity to redefine your role and thrive in the age of automation?

The choice is yours, but we suggest you start with one of the easiest things to streamline – document handling and information gathering.

To begin with, consider using Glasscubes to make gaining information about your clients finances simpler, quicker, and easier.

Request a free demo of Glasscubes today.


About this author: Wayne Pope

Technical Director at Glasscubes. With over 30 years experience in the online software industry, Wayne brings an in depth technical expertise in collaborative tools, technology, and best practices.