22-Mar-2021 By - team

How can artificial intelligence help accountants function more effectively in the near future? In this lesson, we cover what's on the horizon in the near future as well as how your practise might benefit from AI.

It is only logical to wonder how artificial intelligence (AI), which is starting to revolutionise the world around us, will affect accountants as these changes take place.

AI in accounting is transforming the financial landscape

The many AI-influenced changes to accounting fall into three main categories: data analytics, audit and financial processes. Data processes + analytics: Big data is the first major change in the world of AI in accounting.

Up to 95 percent of accountants will face some threat due to the advanced automation capabilities provided by AI. While this is categorized initially as a “threat,” it also opens the door to a new kind of accountant.

AI can help financial managers keep better track of transactions that are time-consuming and tedious. AI will allow you to extract data from receipt images and classify it automatically based on the spend category. It then populates reports so they can be analyzed in one place. Reduce the risk of fraud.

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Image recognition, item identification and detection, automated geophysical feature detection, and categorisation are all examples of current applications for artificial intelligence. These are all jobs that humans traditionally performed.

Very soon, artificial intelligence will assist automate many normal and repetitive operations for accountants, but it will also do the following:

  • Facilitate prompt decision making
  • Develop insightful conceptions
  • Make it possible for us to review large amounts of data easily.

The following are five instances of how artificial intelligence (AI) will most likely be useful in the field of accounting during the next several years:

Free research report: The Practice of Now 2020         

In order to provide light on the ways in which the accounting industry is evolving, we questioned 3,000 accountants from Australia and other countries. Find out what your colleagues and accountants are doing to be ready for the next ten years, and figure out what you can do right now to ensure the continued success of your practice.

Predictive and forecasting solutions

Accountants provide a service that is incredibly helpful to their clients by assisting them in forecasting the financial state of their businesses. Because AI has been included in the service, accountants can give customers complete and accurate insights without the normal “manual heavy lifting” and required figure crunching. An accountant’s ability to build a deeper and more beneficial connection with a customer on a day-to-day basis can be assisted by quickly and readily obtaining up-to-date and accurate data and projections.

This transformation will be made possible by one of the most important aspects of AI that exists today: machine learning. Machine learning refers to software’s capacity to programme itself depending on the data it is exposed to. If not completely autonomous, the software can learn from what humans do with data and then offer its own suggestions for what humans should do with that data.

The use of machine learning is ubiquitous. It does this through improving the predictive text, making speech recognition feasible, producing route suggestions while navigating, and proposing a location you might like to visit when you get to your destination. All of these things are necessary for the existence of smartphones.

Seventy-seven percent of companies throughout the globe have already admitted that they are either wholly or substantially dependent on machine learning technology (source: Cisco Systems 2018).

Access to data is what machine learning requires, which is also what makes it such a helpful tool. A large amount of data. This is why machine learning is becoming increasingly popular: technological advances, such as cloud computing have made it possible to compile and access all data rather than keep it segregated within different systems. The usage of cloud computing also enables us to produce more data that is of value.

Smart assistants

There are likely accountants who read this site who, during crunch season when it seems like every customer is sending through their accounts, have considered turning off the phone or their email to concentrate on getting some work done. Now, intelligent assistants might very well bring you one step closer to achieving that objective. They have the capacity to be the initial point of contact with consumers and offer them with the information they require, such as specifics regarding the customers’ existing tax obligations.

A good number of us are familiar with intelligent assistants since we make use of ones like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. Pegg, Sage’s very own intelligent assistant, may be put to work in the company’s accounting services for customers. Pegg will inform users how much money is now available in their payments account if they ask about it. They are not required to have any knowledge of accounting terms or even the concept of a ledger.

The two primary categories of intelligent assistants are natural language bots and scripted bots. Scripted bots have been around for a long time. Since they are simpler to create and are typically implemented as part of a mobile engagement strategy, you can run into one when browsing the internet. They only recognise important terms and make an effort to offer a response that is already prepared. These are also referred to as chatbots on occasion.

The level of sophistication of intelligent assistants has increased by order of magnitude, and they frequently incorporate speech recognition and accurate human voice synthesis so that they can react to questions asked in natural language. The more you utilise them, the more intelligent helpers also learn.

Both intelligent assistants and programmed bots have their places in business, and one should not be favoured over the other just because it is possible to programme them to perform specific tasks better.

Automatic tagging and allocation of transactions

The following two ways in which artificial intelligence will be helpful to accountants are both made possible by machine learning.

Accounting professionals will appreciate the time savings provided by machine learning thanks to its ability to accurately categorise transactions and allocate them to the appropriate ledger account. Put it another way, it gains knowledge from prior tagging decisions, which are often done according to certain norms that the accountant is aware of. Some of these principles are easy to understand, while others might be very difficult to implement, at least from the perspective of a computer. The capacity of technology to uncover these norms and prepare for the future will, over the next several years, help remove a considerable portion of the everyday drudgery and effort associated with accounting.

Anomaly detection

The application of machine learning to vast volumes of data, such as the annual ledgers of a big corporation, results in evident benefits. Of course, computers like data, and there are clear benefits when machine learning is applied to massive amounts of data. When compared to the ways that came before, accountants will be able to find irregularities far more quickly and with a great deal less work than before.

Take, for instance, the necessity of conducting an audit. In that instance, it will be feasible to audit all of the data rather than just a sample, but still avoiding the need for the massive amounts of resources that are generally necessary for what is commonly referred to as a “full” audit.

OCR solutions

OCR, or optical character recognition, has been around for a while, but advances in AI have made it substantially more accurate and opened it up to new applications. In the past, it was possible to extract information from documents automatically; however, this process needed a person to indicate to the OCR software where the data was placed. Because of this, the document layout could not change without further guidance.

Naturally, computers have always been able to recognise numerical values. This is what makes a computer a computer. A printed receipt for a transaction will contain a lot of digits, not all of which are identical to one another. You, as an accountant, should pay special attention to specific details, such as the date, the total amount, and maybe the credit card number. A person can recognise these numbers without even thinking about it, but until recently, a computer could not tell the difference between them. The numbers 1-5-1-2 may represent the final four digits of the card number, a date, or the value of a particular item on the receipt.

The introduction of artificial intelligence to optical character recognition (OCR) enables OCR software to recognise printed documents such as receipts or invoices, from which it may also recognise and extract important data. The programme, rather than a person, may then allocate the data and/or process it; this is possible even if the software has never seen a document like the one being scanned before or if the quality of the scanned document is poor. This decreases the amount of time and effort that must be spent manually assigning information.

So what’s next?

How will we be able to take use of all of these fantastic opportunities made possible by AI? The wonderful news is that it is quite unlikely that you will have to do very much! Back in the day, we would have anticipated having to purchase more software in order to unlock game-changing new capabilities. Now, the kinds of tools that were outlined earlier are very likely going to start appearing in the software that you already use over the course of the next several years.

It’s possible that some of it, like the reconciliation of bank accounts, is already included in your company’s accounting and client management software, and you may not even be aware of it. The only change you would have noticed is that things became somewhat simpler after the programme gave the impression of being marginally more intelligent. This is the form that the revolution will take: a series of incremental shifts rather than a radical transformation occurring suddenly.

In articles of this nature, there is almost always a “but,” and in this case, it boils down to this: artificial intelligence is a component of a more significant technological revolution that is made possible by the cloud. Just to provide one example, the only way to compile and make publicly available the huge amounts of data that machine learning requires is to use cloud computing.

In the last section, we discussed how machine learning has the potential to become the most effective auditor in the world by identifying faults that are difficult for people to recognise. Having said that, it is only able to accomplish this goal if it has access to all of the data. If the required information is dispersed among a hundred different spreadsheets or, even worse, printed papers, then it is impossible to achieve what is being asked.

In other words, artificial intelligence is built on top of technologies such as cloud technology. The takeaway here is straightforward: if you want AI, make sure you’re utilising the most recent technological advancements. This does not mean that you have to be on the cutting edge of technology; rather, it means that you should simply be aware of what constitutes a solid common-sense approach in terms of technology and make sure that it is implemented in your practice.

How will AI enhance recruitment?

There is a lot of excitement about AI in the recruiting and people market. This article will explain how it will help automate recruiting and provide illustrations using four applications that you should be aware of.

One of the most talked-about subjects in the Human Resources and People sector right now is artificial intelligence (AI). Because of this, we polled more than five hundred human resources (HR) experts and thought leaders from across the world to get their opinions on how AI would affect the HR business.

We anticipate that progressive People and HR departments will increasingly use chatbots to design suitable and specifically tailored employee experiences.

We believe that AI-enabled chatbots will become commonplace in 2021 and serve as virtual staff assistants. These chatbots will remind employees to take vacations, monitor appointments, and provide feedback, among other functions.

Other qualified individuals share this sentiment. They think that AI will assist HR and People teams in considerably reducing the amount of administrative work they have to do and generating data-driven insights to personalise employee experiences better and improve retention strategies.

Free research report: The changing face of HR               

Changes of a seismic scale are taking place in the ways organisations function, their work, and the people they manage. We conducted a poll with over 500 HR leaders to find out how they are reacting.

Learn how to remain ahead of the competition and convert human resources from a function focused on processes into an enterprise driven by people.

The pitfall of AI and how to sidestep it

The elimination of prejudice and the promotion of diversity are two areas in which organisations are adopting AI more often. The advantages of having a diverse workforce have been known for a long time, and the problem of unconscious prejudice is often regarded as one of the most difficult to solve, given that the person hiring employees does not even realise they have a bias.

The fallacy of AI, however, resides in the manner in which it operates, which is overly simple. Artificial intelligence (AI) begins with a set of instructions, which are then iterated based on subsequent interactions. For example, CAPTCHA forms, which are designed to differentiate between people and machines, are not configured initially to recognise whether pictures include signs or businesses. Instead, the artificial intelligence that drives CAPTCHA learns from the millions of inputs it receives to determine human-generated and computer-generated. Therefore, if a large number of individuals clicked on an ornamental balcony awning believing it to be a shop, CAPTCHA would ultimately deem that picture to have a storefront at some point.

The use of AI in recruiting is vulnerable to the same kind of potential worry. If an AI tool learns from biassed human interactions, whether these biases be conscious or unconscious, it will eventually replicate these biases in its own behaviour. Therefore, in order to solve this regrettably embedded behaviour, a number of authorities believe that the only solution is to eliminate human involvement in the earlier stages of the recruiting process.

Despite these issues, AI has effectively eliminated prejudice throughout the recruiting process. It can be designed to ignore any information that can result in prejudice. Typical information requested in this manner in Australia includes age, gender, location of qualification, and residential address. In the United States, it would include people’s ethnicity, which is something that many organisations keep track of.

Textio and HireVue are examples of mobile applications that aim to eliminate unconscious prejudice.

Automate the bias away with Textio and HireVue

Textio is an augmented writing tool that identifies unexpected text patterns and predicts reactions based on those patterns. For instance, the Australian powerhouse technology firm Atlassian uses Textio to structure job advertising in such a way that they appeal to female candidates, deleting masculine-oriented phrases and purpose without even realising it.

It’s common knowledge that men predominate in the IT business. Despite the fact that a poll conducted in 2018 indicated that Australia has the second strongest female representation in IT anywhere in the globe, women still only make up 28 percent of the workforce in the business.

The results of Atlassian’s attempts to achieve gender parity in its workforce have been positive. After a period of two years, the firm saw an increase of 57 percent in the number of female technical graduate candidates, up from 10 percent. After three years, they had tripled the presence of black and Hispanic engineers and had an increase of 80 percent in the number of women hired for technical positions.

HireVue uses a distinct approach to eliminate prejudice in the hiring process through the use of automation. The application, which AI powers, provides businesses with a more in-depth understanding of a candidate’s qualifications through the use of modern gamified aptitude and psychometric tests, as well as video interviews.

Unilever, a global leader in consumer packaged goods, has deployed a new graduate recruiting solution incorporating HireVue to remove unconscious bias from the early screening process. The experience that Unilever had also highlights rather clearly how an AI solution may assist enhance the experience that candidates have and make the recruiting process more efficient.

The graduate recruiting process at Unilever now only takes two weeks, when it used to take anything from four to six months. As a result, candidates are substantially more happy than they were with the prior ‘human-operated’ approach.

The case study demonstrates Unilever’s intention to replace its highly outdated and clumsy graduate recruiting programme with a modern solution that felt warm, human, and non-robotic. This goal was highlighted by the company’s desire to upgrade its graduate recruitment programme. According to Gee Kee, the HireVue platform is “better and more efficient” than an in-person interview when it comes to picking prospects. Applicants will now get one page of feedback in the form of an A4 document at each step of the recruiting process. This is intended to aid candidates in future recruitment procedures.

Will AI take the ‘human’ out of HR?

According to our research findings, a sizeable proportion of HR professionals have a sceptical attitude about chatbots. Many people believe that this will result in a recruiting process that is clinical, robotic, and dehumanising.

Mya is a chatbot application that employs machine learningnatural language processing, and API-connected technologies to speak directly with applicants. This software goes some distance towards dispelling the notion that this is the case. This may be done by text message and email, and it can also update data about registered jobs, schedule appointments, and do other functions.

Mya’s skills go above and beyond those of other chatbots since she can imitate (to some extent) the speech patterns of applicants while arranging appointments. This gives her an advantage over other chatbots. Natural or human-like interactions with Mya led to the fact that 75 percent of applicants who were interviewed by the app were unaware that she was a bot. It boasts a completion rate of screens that is 93 percent, which is far higher than that of typical web forms. And by using Mya, recruiters may cut the amount of time it takes to fill open positions by 79%.

The programme also provides considerable benefits in terms of productivity, allowing recruiters to save up to an estimated 75 percent of their time by automating the effort associated with their communication. Mya is able to assist in the process of finding and screening applicants, as well as answering questions and scheduling appointments. When the app is unable to answer inquiries, it transfers the conversation to a real-life recruiter.

You can’t get a job from computer games, and other lies your parents told: Knack.

Knack is one such software that utilises games to show candidates’ aptitude levels; this app also tries to humanise the experience of the recruiting process. The app provides recruiters with actionable information to attract, engage, and recruit the finest individuals from a broader pool of prospects by combining the fun and stickiness of games with science-based testing and algorithms. Games are known to keep people engaged for more extended periods of time.

Docusign Bbsbf5uv50a Unsplash  

Free research report: The changing face of HR         

Changes of a seismic scale are taking place in the ways organisations function, their work, and the people they manage. We conducted a poll with over 500 HR leaders to find out how they are reacting.

Learn how to remain ahead of the competition and convert human resources from a function focused on processes into an enterprise driven by people.

Robots and AI: How will they affect accounting?

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia predicts that by the year 2025, the proliferation of robots and artificial intelligence would cause the loss of forty percent of jobs in Australia.

The collection of foodstuffs in warehouses and the assembly line construction of various tools and equipment are two examples of the kind of repetitive activities that several firms, particularly major enterprises, are now deploying robots to undertake. On the other hand, several fields, like marketing, have witnessed automation completely upend the established order.

Should traditional economic pillars like banking and accounting be concerned about the prospect of significant job losses as more industries look over their shoulders and see robots and automation lurking around the corner?

Will robots take over accountancy?

We are of the opinion that employees in the private sector, including accountants, have just “scratched the surface” of what they are capable of accomplishing with the help of technology and that AI will soon be responsible for the elimination of other occupations.

The majority of the work accountants will be performing in about 20 years from now won’t even exist in their current form.

Compared to today, the great majority of accounting jobs consisted of maintaining paper records 20 years ago. That’s very much a thing of the past now, thanks to the automation of bank feeds and the online migration of numerous procedures.

Compared to where it was two or three years ago, our profession is today is light years ahead of where it was then. I believe that the automation of account transactions has already had a significant impact on the accounting business, and as a result, this sector is already being significantly influenced by technological advancements.

In spite of the fact that robots and computers are already causing havoc for certain accounting professionals, we believe that in the long run, they will have a positive impact on the sector.

We have received training to be counsellors, and the bulk of our job consists of contributing to the expansion of a company. I can say without a doubt that I’ve witnessed firsthand how automation already enables us to spend more time with customers.

Free research report: The Practice of Now 2020

In order to provide light on the ways in which the accounting industry is evolving, we questioned 3,000 accountants from Australia and other countries. Find out what your colleagues and accountants are doing to be ready for the next ten years, and figure out what you can do right now to ensure the continued success of your practice.

The time for robots has arrived.

It is no longer simply a hype cycle that we have debated for years; the time for bots, robots, and AI has come, and we are no longer in the early stages of their development.

AI is not new; the technology has been around for decades. What is new, however, is the consumer adoption of AI in our everyday lives; we are no longer nervous about having our days scheduled by something that is not human, and we are also not nervous about having robots complete tasks for our businesses such as managing expenses.

In addition, we are of the opinion that the worry that robots would steal jobs is unfounded, as our research has shown that humans have already had to face and overcome challenges of a similar nature in the past.

When personal computers were first introduced, many were concerned that they would be replaced by technology and lose their employment. There was a lot of fearmongering at the time about the possibility that this would occur. This fear is similar to what people had back then. However, what really transpired was that it made our lives simpler – in fact, we can’t understand what our lives were like before personal computers, which is why this dread is constantly present whenever there is a new piece of technology.

There are fresh possibilities presented with each each wave of technological dislocation. There will be a reorganisation, and everyone will need to improve our skills to coexist and collaborate with AI. Who knows, maybe the person I hire after that won’t even be a real person. Who knows?

Why accountants should upskill

It is unavoidable that accountants will require further training in order to fulfil their potential role in the provision of data security.

Repurposing is something that we believe will take place. Look at how other professions, like marketing and journalism, have had to rethink how they do their jobs due to technological advancements. You’ll see that the accounting profession will soon face the same challenges. It’s just thusengs are.

Accountants and other finance experts might play quickly access information ring the safety of a company’s financial data. Online security is currently of the utmost importance, and as we move forwards, we need to ensure that our data is encrypted and safe.

The notion that robots and AI are already posing a threat to the way humans do our jobs is generally held. The issue that must be answered today is how long it will be until it completely reimagines how accountants go about their work.

Free research report: The Practice of Now 2020

In order to provide light on the ways in which the accounting industry is evolving, we questioned 3,000 accountants from Australia and other countries. Find out how your colleagues accountants are getting ready for the next decade, and find out what you can do right now to ensure the continued success of your practice.

How will AI enhance manufacturing?

Numerous factory automation and software solutions are being implemented due to businesses’ efforts to differentiate their products by ensuring they stay up with the development of Industry 4.0.

Applications for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are helping to optimise workflows in manufacturing, such as procurement and inventory management. Meanwhile, computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems are fueling product research, design, and development. Similarly, manufacturers are using product data management systems to boost efficiency, gain access to information in a timely manner, and improve value chain orchestration.

However, incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into industrial applications and processes provides a more significant competitive edge that helps boost long-term growth and profitability.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the capacity of robots to mimic human intelligence. Computer systems, which are powered by this technology, utilise human-like processes, such as learning and logical reasoning, in order to offer outcomes such as predictive analytics. The use of AI resources such as neural networks and machine learning (ML) algorithms enables the construction of systems with the capabilities of natural language processing and image analytics.

21st Century Manufacturing Automation: Why is Australia Lagging?

According to recent research, the majority of Australia’s manufacturing sector has not embraced the innovative practises essential for thriving and expanding in the 21st century. For instance, just 4% of companies include industry stakeholders in their research and development activities. Rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing, micro-production, and other technologies that can help boost speed to market, address challenges with economies of scale, and improve product quality are not being utilised to their full potential by the majority of these companies as quickly as they are by their American or Japanese counterparts.

In addition, just 36% of Australian manufacturers are making the most of their knowledge in scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical fields. Eighty-two percent are not planning to increase their IT spending, seventy-one percent are not looking to implement sophisticated processes, and eighty-five percent do not have a plan for continued product development.

However, suppose businesses in Australia utilise qualified people in fields such as medical devices and aerospace. In that case, they may be able to shift the balances in their favour and gain an advantage. In comparison to the United States, the cost of hiring these specialists is significantly lower in Australia.

Opportunities for Leveraging AI in Manufacturing

Some firms are already automating human-centric processes, choices, or activities with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Here are several examples:

In the future, you will require upgrades, integration with third-party applications or software, or support in order to guarantee that the programme will work to its full potential. Paying your vendor support fees to acquire these services directly from them is more convenient and cost-effective than seeking out the services of a third party.

Automatic Fault Detection

Computer systems that AI drives employ sensors that have been deliberately placed in order to catch and analyse tiny pictures of defects in equipment. Because these kinds of flaws are too small to be seen and diagnosed by the human eye, computer vision is essential for finding solutions rapidly and in real-time. The technique is based on ML algorithms, which are used to analyse and differentiate between the many different system difficulties.

Generative Design

Numerous design possibilities are available for any product or component you are making. However, given the production restrictions that you have, such as the materials, pricing, and manufacturing procedures you have access to, how can you swiftly develop the optimal model? A generative design is the solution to this problem! Utilise a programme that allows for generative design and input your design goals along with any and all relevant parameters. The system will produce every conceivable design iteration, and then it will use ML to investigate and learn from each model in order to determine which one is the most suitable based on the design goals.

Predictive Maintenance

Integrating artificial intelligence with Internet of Things sensors allows manufacturers to detect equipment malfunctions and proactively avoid costly downtimes. The system is able to provide an accurate assessment of the health or state of machines by monitoring vibration, sound, or torque. It removes the element of uncertainty from the planning for plant maintenance.

How AI Can Give Manufacturers a Competitive Advantage

Incorporating artificial intelligence into industrial automation or corporate software can provide a number of benefits that can give a business an advantage in the market, including the following:

Reduction of Downtime

If your production lines or manufacturing systems are prone to breakdowns, you will not be able to compete as effectively as you would want. According to recent findings, automobile manufacturers may incur losses of up to $1.3 million per hour1 due to unplanned downtime. Artificial intelligence-driven preventative maintenance allows manufacturers to avoid these kinds of losses.

Demand-Driven Planning

The capacity to anticipate demand and adjust production levels accordingly gives manufacturers who use artificial intelligence in enterprise resource planning a significant competitive advantage.

Optimising Product Design

Generative product modelling systems can assist manufacturers in differentiating their products by cutting manufacturing costs while maintaining or improving quality and functionality.

Manufacturing that is intelligent and powered by AI is the way to go for Industry 4.0! Organisations who are prepared to accept new technologies have a wide variety of options available to them to improve their production processes, which come in a variety of shapes and forms. AI is considered as the fundamental component of progressive development within many manufacturers’ businesses, and this view is shared by many of those firms.




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