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What is the impact of AI and automation in the job market?

The role of AI and automation in the job market is a hotly debated topic. There are many different studies out there which suggest different outcomes, but it seems clear that there will be some kind of technological impact on the job market. 

Analysis from PwC found that nearly a third of all jobs (30%) could be automated by the mid-2030s. The financial services sector is not immune to the impact that automation and AI could have on the job market, meaning that your accounting job may not exist at all. Reskilling and upskilling your team is essential when it comes to keeping your employees’ skills up-to-date.

This piece highlights the areas where automation and AI could have an impact on the job market.

AI is driving change in the job market

AI is driving change in the job market. As AI systems become more capable, there is increasing pressure on workers to adapt or risk being replaced by automation. 

Some roles are being replaced by AI; others are being augmented by it; and some roles are even being created as a result of AI. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 estimates that by 2025, 97 million new jobs will emerge due to automation and technological development. 

At the same time, there's also evidence that certain jobs require higher levels of human judgement than ever before, which means that some people may have an advantage over machines when it comes to performing them effectively. Accountants will need to develop soft skills to complement the hard skills required to work in the profession.

Automation, AI and accountancy jobs - Future proofing your skill sets for the future

Accountants will need to adapt their skill sets to accommodate the introduction of AI and automation, as well as changing client demands. 

  • Accountants will need to be able to communicate effectively with clients in order to explain how these changes will affect them. Clients may not understand exactly what is happening, so it's important that accountants can explain things clearly so they don't become overwhelmed or worried about their business' future prospects.

  • Accountants should also be more creative when it comes to finding solutions for clients' problems - whether this means finding new ways of saving money through automation or simply helping businesses grow with your expertise and knowledge base (which could even mean automating some parts of your work).

  • Accountants should focus more on data analysis than ever before - rather than just crunching numbers manually every month or quarter, you'll need access to powerful software tools that can perform these tasks automatically while still allowing you enough time left over each week so that nothing slips through the cracks!

Will automation replace accountants?

There will still be a need for accountants in the future, albeit, AI and automation will make the job of an accountant much easier and interesting. However, AI and automation will reduce the need for repetitive tasks such as data entry and analysis. Accountants will be required to manage and monitor AI systems as well as automate some of their own tasks.

Sage’s Practice of Now 2020 report found that 58% of accountants said that automation had improved efficiency and productivity, with 45% saying that they intend to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks (data entry and number crunching). 

For example, there are already apps that can automatically generate invoices based on what they know about your company - they understand how much time you spend working on each project and then create an invoice based on those numbers (so if something takes more time than usual, it'll adjust accordingly). 

This technology is currently being used by many companies across all industries, including accounting firms themselves.

Will we still have accountants in the future?

Accountants will still be needed, but their role will change. As the job market becomes more automated, accountants will need to be more creative and innovative in order to stay relevant. 

They will also need to be tech savvy and business savvy as they analyse data from new sources like social media posts, receipts and emails that can help them make more informed decisions about their clients' finances.

There is no doubt that AI and automation will have an impact on the job market but we don't know exactly what that will be. There are some who predict robots will take over all jobs, while others believe humans will always find new ways to adapt as the technology advances. 

How ICAEW Jobs can help you secure your dream job

We don't know exactly what the future holds, but we do know that AI and automation will have an impact on the job market. The question is: how much? Accountants are in a unique position to understand how this technology works and can use their expertise to adapt as necessary.

Looking to make the next step in your career? ICAEW Jobs can help you secure your dream job. You can find the latest job listings and careers advice on the ICAEW Jobs website today.