Machine learning is a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), where machines can learn through the use of algorithms to interpret various types of data to interpret results as well as learn from successes and failures.
While computers are not as intelligent as humans, they can process data much faster than you can. Computers are extremely fast and normally very accurate in their inferences. So, as machines find their way into the world of accounting and take over everyday accounting tasks, you will have more time, as an accountant, to utilize your professional skills on more important tasks such as advising clients based on the data processed by the machines.
That said, let’s have a deeper look at how machine learning will impact the world of accounting.
Machine Learning Will Promote Innovation in Accounting
In the past, accounting software companies used desktop support for their operations. This was eventually replaced with cloud-based services. Likewise, accounting firms and departments will have to invest in machine learning going forward. Machines have the ability to deliver real-time information, improve decision making, and promote efficiency.
Accounting Jobs That Machines Can Learn To Accomplish
You should realize that machines will not take your accounting job. However, the machines will be your workmates. Namely, you work together in a bid to deliver more efficient services to customers.
A machine that replaces the human emotional intelligence requirements of accounting tasks is yet to be developed. Nonetheless, machines can learn to undertake repetitive and usually time-consuming tasks.
Let us look at some of the applications of machine learning in the world of accounting:
- Accounting apps learn the behaviors of invoice coding and provide recommendations on how to allocate transactions. For instance, if you normally allocate a product to a given account the program learns, so the app will automatically allocate it to the appropriate account the next time around. The app also learns from mistakes you fix and in turn does so if it finds an error.
- Auditing of Expense Submissions. Machines can learn your business’ expense policy, read receipts, as well as audit expense claims to ascertain compliance. Then, it can forward questionable claims to you for approval.
- Risk Assessment. With machine learning, you can be able to undertake risk assessment mapping by pulling data from all the projects your business has ever accomplished to compare it to a planned project. Such a comprehensive assessment would take you ages if you were to do it manually, without the help of a machine.
It is also worth noting that machine learning will affect auditors’ work in the near future. Sometimes a careless action, innocent or not could be considered a criminal act. Vanguard Tax Relief points out that in a case of payroll tax debt, “if the IRS can prove that the missed payroll deposits were deliberate, rather than accidental, you could be criminally prosecuted.”
With the huge number of transactions that flow through organizations, auditors can only audit a limited number of transactions manually. This problem could be solved quickly with machine learning running the audits.
Given the advancements, we have witnessed in computing, many professionals, including accountants, fear for their jobs as machines threaten to take over them. The truth is that machines are not going to replace human accountants, at least not anytime soon. They will only work with humans in a bid to improve efficiency throughout the world of accounting, as outlined in this article.