Recent studies have shown that technology has reduced the time spent on routine tasks by 60-80 percent. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can free up CPAs to do more analyzing (and less cutting and pasting), allowing accounting professionals to unleash and amplify the talent that will drive more value for their clients and organizations.
AI brings the ability to generate mechanical calculations, calculate complex computations, and even predict trends. With the ability for the human element of these computations to be automated, what is the opportunity for CPAs and their organizations?
Many CPAs use AI-powered tax preparation to automate routine tasks such as data entry, record keeping and calculations. This saves time and money while decreasing the chance of human error. For many tax preparers, the ability to leverage AI solutions to read and transcribe financial data such as K-1s and bank reports allows them to drastically cut down monotonous work and improve accuracy and internal controls over their processes.
Additionally, CPAs are using AI to monitor publicly available information, establishing AI solutions to routinely evaluate business and ownership changes that may impact tax reporting requirements and results prove to be invaluable. And these are just a few examples of what AI offers the field.
The time for CPAs to invest in AI and their employees is now. Workforce and development trends show investing now in your people, yourself, and your organization can drive employee retention upwards of 76 percent. The ability to identify opportunities to drive automation and leverage technology to its fullest potential is a skillset that is mostly untapped in the accounting profession. However, most recent hires in accounting are more than eager to be part of the technological shift, drive change, and leverage AI to advance human capabilities.
A company that invests in the growth of its people has always been a company likely to succeed. But empowering your team with resources and training to drive citizen-led change brings with it the ability to drive exponential growth. Employees who drive change in their organizations also drive change within themselves. Hanging on to the past is no way to fly into our future of change – and CPAs know this.
The power of technology brings professionals of many generations together with a common goal: doing more together. This is a different emphasis than the traditional goal of doing more with less. The ability of the younger, tech-savvy generation to bring seasoned professionals up to speed with technology, and the ability of the seasoned professionals to have time to explain technical accounting concepts to the younger generation, have brought us closer together. The next step is getting your team access to technology solutions and learning together to start your technology evolution and automation pursuits.
And, if necessary, this may mean reaching out to consultants who specialize in upskilling employees and identifying ways AI, ML and other technologies that can help transform your practices. AI and human intelligence operate in a complementary capacity, and have the ability to elevate every aspect of what we as humans can accomplish in the accounting field. If CPAs and the companies they work for want to remain relevant, they need to start the transformation now, for a better tomorrow.About the author: Jim Hedderman, CPA, is a partner with Baker Tilly US with more than 23 years of federal taxation experience both in the public and corporate arena. His focus areas are the ASC 740 accounting for income taxes, federal income tax, and technology evolution and automation. In his role, he helps clients automate, think strategically, and streamline income tax provision and tax return processes.