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Artificial Intelligence: Accounting of the Future

Artificial intelligence isn’t just in a position to become a major growth industry – it’s also poised to disrupt many other industries. From marketing to transportation to even healthcare, AI applications can simplify processes and perform tasks better than they’re currently being executed.

And this technology is slowly making its way into accounting, too.

At the start of this year, we said artificial intelligence would be one of five small business trends to watch in 2018 – and now we’re going to show you how AI could soon improve accounting methods. This could prove to be a boom to small businesses, as coming innovations might make your job as a jack-of-all-trades just a little easier.

How AI Could Change Accounting

For the uninitiated, artificial intelligence is simply intelligence shown by machines. That’s a broad scope, however, ranging from Netflix’s ability to “predict” content you might want to see to “personal assistants,” such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri to Tesla’s “Autopilot” technology. Not to mention a lot of other things in between.

So where will AI fit in the future of accounting?

A better question is: How is it already being used?

Major accounting firms including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte are already using AI technologies and developing them further. For instance, Forbes’ Adelyn Zhou, who talked with Deloitte’s managing director of innovation, Craig Muraskin, writes, “A Deloitte team might comb through hundreds of thousands of legal documents looking for a change of control provisions during a client’s sale of a business unit. This used to keep dozens of employees occupied for half a year. Now, a team of six to eight members can use an AI system to complete the same task in less than a month.”

Bots are being used not just to scan documents for certain data, but also analyzing that data to assess risk, among other tasks. In some cases, they’re being used to “read” billing statements to identify inefficiencies and other problems that could seep down to the bottom line.

Of course, those are big firms – the types that typically serve big clients. But what about small businesses?

AI, like other technologies, likely will take longer to filter its way down into the sphere of mid- and small-size companies. But we’re starting to see flickers. For instance, startup Teampay – which has integrated chatbots into company expense management – just raised $4 million in seed funding, which suggests the technology might have more legs. Meanwhile, payroll company ADP plans to go outside just accounting with artificial intelligence, announcing it will provide its 500,000 small business clients with talent acquisition help by allowing them to use ZipRecruiter’s AI technology from within ADP’s own software.

Will a robot be doing your accounting and taxes within the near future? Probably not. Which means if you need help crunching the numbers, you still need to seek out a high level of human expertise. McManamon & Co. offers just that, providing accounting services backed by a team that boasts decades of experience helping small and mid-size firms. We are also up-to-date on the latest technologies, and can even help train accounting staffs in both old-fashioned best practices, as well as new software and applications.

Call us at 440.892.9088 or contact us online, and find out more about how we can best serve your business’ accounting needs.


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