The purpose and procedures of accounting as a profession have been the same for decades. While this likely isn’t going to change in the near future, the way your job is done is rapidly evolving in the current decade. It’s likely a good time to reconsider your role as solely an accountant and think about evolving into more of a consulting role. Two main forces are behind how the accounting profession is changing.
Why Are Things Changing?
The accounting profession has been the same for a very long time. The role of an accountant is to keep the books of a client, prepare tax filings, and perform audits when necessary. This is the essence of accounting, and people have been doing a fantastic job of it for many years. But technology is changing the way these things are done. The computer age and internet age have allowed the profession to use resources that never would have been thought of decades ago. The technological trend applied to accounting is not shrinking. If anything, it’s getting bigger and more prevalent. Individual accountants need to adapt to this change quickly or else they may be deemed irrelevant in the coming years.
Artificial Intelligence and Accounting
Artificial intelligence encompasses many technologies that apply directly to accounting. Areas such as business planning, general learning, and problem solving are all things that artificial intelligence can do. This technology isn’t coming, it’s already here and evolving fast. No matter the size of your accounting firm, artificial intelligence is likely to be a part of it soon if it isn’t already. The most menial accounting tasks are being replaced by computers. More complex tasks will likely be replaced very soon. Basic data gathering, analysis, and reporting will soon be done solely by artificial intelligence. Whether this is in one year, five years, or more, no one is sure, but it is happening.
Blockchain Technology Will Make Tax Filings and Audits Automated
Blockchain is a decentralized, digital ledger that eliminates the need for third-party verification or trust through mathematics and cryptography. This technology is relatively new but is disrupting many industries. In accounting, the long-term thought is that blockchain will eliminate the need to file taxes since all financial transactions will be on the blockchain ledger and easily verified. Also, blockchain technology has the potential to allow real-time audits of individuals and companies, a first in the accounting profession.
Consider Evolving to an Accounting Consultant
Artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, when fully implemented, eliminate the need for gathering data, analyzing the data, creating reports, filing taxes, and performing audits. With this possibility looming in the future, it’s easy to see why you should consider moving on from just providing accounting services to becoming more of an accounting consultant. With your accounting training, learning a bit about artificial intelligence and blockchain, and how they directly apply to accounting, can be a massive benefit for your career in the next few years.
You may want to consider how technology is changing and improving the accounting profession. The impact of technology is happening now, and the momentum is unlikely to stop. Because of this, it’s probably important for all accountants to begin analyzing their own careers and think about becoming accounting consultants instead of just traditional accountants.