Traditional qualified accountants that have refused to move ground are already feeling the heat from the effect shakeup caused by the advancement in technology. They are getting worried for the minimal effects that already exists.
A more pronounced effect and shakeup is fast approaching the direction of accounting and finance industry. The recent effects that the fintech startups are having on the revenue flow of the traditional banks through digital finance will be nothing compared to what is coming towards the direction of accounting firms if care is not taken.
My fear and the reason why I’m sounding this warning despite the fact that a recent survey titled ‘are accountants still relevant in this era of disruptive accounting?’ shows that accounting as a profession is safe for now is because of the conversation that I had with a close friend who is an accountant entrepreneur.
Although I will not be giving the specifics but the overview of his plan is to build an AIML (artificial intelligence / machine learning) backed product that will take in any descriptive text into their mobile phone or any device of their choice and the system will intelligently decide the correct journal entry and also make the correct double entry. The system will also make any necessary period end accounting adjustments.
All this will be done without the user knowing anything about debit and credit. I don’t know about you but this is making me have nostalgic and terrifying feelings that one day the fate of my beloved accounting profession will be hanging on the thread of a tiny rope.
This is not to say that managers and business owners will no longer appreciate the importance of accounting. They will still do just that they will have a choice of getting all that their accountant can do for them from a piece of something that my friend referred to as ‘beyond accounting software TM’. I sincerely hope I have not given out too much information about this product that is still in at the prototype stage?
I can hear someone saying but accounting software already does that. If you are one of those people saying this. Note that while traditional accounting software and ERPs takes care of double entry for you, the onus of entering the data in the right section still lies with the person operating the software – meaning that there must be some element of accounting knowledge in the person making the input.
This product am referring to simply takes a phrase as an input. For example, a user enters the phrase ‘I gave the driver
N2,500.00’ and the system automatically detects that ‘Transportation account’ will be debited while ‘Cash Account’ will be credited. All this will be done from that single phrase entered by this trader who knows nothing about accounting. Isn’t that going to be awesome? I can’t wait to write more about this product when it is launched – possibly partner with the inventor. Another potential of this massive product is that the problem of small business accountants dealing with incomplete records or single-entry bookkeeping will be a thing of the past.
If you have read to this point and you are still in doubt of the potential accounting disruption that this potentially ground braking innovation will cause, then you are probably going to be one of those that will be taken by surprise when this materializes.
Please note my intention of writing this out is not to scare anyone or to give out my friend’s invention secret (by the way, I have his written consent to write this article) but to encourage accounting thought leaders to keep innovating and refining accounting practice, not just accounting standards. No amount of accounting standard can change the outcome of what is destined to happen. This is why it is important for those that are already hybrid accountants to continue picking up soft skills for accountants as this make them stand out from the crowd when the day of the apocalypse arrives.
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