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How will AI change the way that accounting professionals work?

Written by: ICAEW Jobs
Published on: 13 Sep 2023

AI and accounting professionals

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionised the way many industries work and operate over the past few years.

The accounting industry is not immune to this revolutionary technology.  Qualified and senior-level accountants will need to not only adapt to the breakneck changes of AI but be able to leverage it to its full potential for both clients and organisations.

This article explores the role of AI and how it may change the way accounting professionals work right now and in the future.

The impact of AI in accountancy

Like many industries, accountancy has been impacted by the rapid rise in AI. According to a Mordor Intelligence statistics report, it’s expected that AI in the accounting industry is projected to grow 30% year-on-year from 2023 to 2027.

It's important to note that this is not the first time technology has impacted the accounting profession. In the past, the introduction of computers and accounting software displaced some bookkeeping roles. However, it also created new opportunities for accountants to focus on higher-value tasks, such as providing financial advice and strategic planning. AI software, such as ChatGPT and Bard have automated time-intensive tasks, such as bookkeeping, data entry and report planning tasks, enabling accountants to spend more time working on other areas, which includes financial analysis, business partnering and developing a broader business knowledge.

Will AI replace accountants?

No. New technologies like AI will continue to drive the accounting sector to evolve. With the ability to process and analyse vast, disparate amounts of data, accountants will make more informed decisions and be more forward-looking, helping stakeholders understand what might happen, rather than what has happened.

Accountants can then focus more on strategic and advisory roles that add value not just to organisations, but clients too. The pre-requisite skills of advising stakeholders and clients, as well as analysing data, will be crucial. Developing and creating training programmes around AI will help accounting teams better understand how to use it effectively in their roles. You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments surrounding AI, blockchain, cybersecurity and big data via our technology resources on the main ICAEW site.

How can AI help accountants?

There are many opportunities for accountants to enhance how they work by utilising AI.  AI can analyse large volumes of data, allowing accountants to identify any patterns and trends, as well as providing valuable insights to clients and organisations. Businesses will better understand their financial performance, while also making data-driven decisions that benefit their bottom line. It can also enhance an organisation’s security and compliance measures, particularly when it comes to bookkeeping accounts. The AI systems can quickly find and spot potential fraud in financial data, as the algorithms can warn businesses in real-time of fraud incidents.

By implementing AI into an accountancy team’s workflow, it can enhance the level of service provided to clients and stakeholders. Ultimately, the future of accounting will depend on how we choose to use and regulate AI. By embracing the potential benefits of AI, while also being mindful of the risks, we can create a future where humans and machines work together to create a more efficient and effective accounting profession.

Harness the power of AI and secure your dream job with ICAEW Jobs

As AI technology continues to shape the accounting profession, accountants must acquire new skills to stay relevant. Some of these skills may include data analysis and interpretation, programming and coding, proficiency in cloud-based software, and expertise in specific AI-powered solutions.

It is crucial to develop new skills and knowledge necessary to stay competitive in the job market and meet the demands of a rapidly changing profession. As AI continues to evolve and develop, the technology will continue to mature overtime. 

We have a series of structured learning solutions available through the ICAEW Academy, which are designed to deliver world-leading content and helpful advice on which courses are available for your personal career development.

Looking to make the next step in your accountancy career? ICAEW Jobs can assist in your search for your next role. You can find out about the latest job opportunities and careers advice on the ICAEW Jobs website today.