The boom of technology across the majority of industries has had a massive impact on the way we work. Bots are constantly advancing and becoming increasingly sophisticated, meaning they are now capable of completing tasks in place of humans. Though we used to think that bots couldn’t take over the jobs of bookkeepers and accountants given the complexity of the tasks at hand, it is now apparent that bots can complete these tasks, sometimes even more accurately than humans...
But how far will this technology go, and what will it mean for professionals in the finance industry?
1. But wait, what actually are bots?
If we want to get technical, bots are a form of artificial intelligence that extend your computer’s input and output programming, allowing your computer to react to different situations and adapt accordingly. They are designed to be able to complete time-consuming, repetitive tasks for you so you can focus on what’s important. This form of AI is already a day to day normality that we use at work and home, like on Facebook Messenger, Slack and the self-check-outs at grocery stores you're already used to.
2. What can the bots actually do
At the moment, many accountants and bookkeepers are using bots to complete repetitive, boring tasks for them so they have more time to focus on the more important tasks in front of them - and the stuff they actually like to do. Humanoid accountant bots are still some way off, however some accountants no longer require dedicated accounts payable and receivable employees, as AI handles much of the work of initiating payments and matching purchase orders. Bots are also helping bookkeepers out by being able to automate and track all of you and your business’s bank and credit card transactions, making it easier and faster to see where you’ve been spending. It’s likely that any jobs which are primarily based on tracking and managing data or taking data from one place and moving it to another can be automated in the near future.
3. What will bots be able to do in the future
As artificial intelligence continues to advance, new software will be able to tackle more and more complex tasks. It is likely that the use of bots in messaging services, like Facebook Messenger, will continue to advance and it will soon be impossible to distinguish whether you’re talking to a bot or a human. This includes the development of voice-controlled technology, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Echo. Recent studies and news headlines are claiming that over 95% of accountants and taxation experts may be replaced by robots within the next two decades, eventually removing the need for humans in the majority of sectors.
4. How can the bots help
By automating time-consuming, repetitive tasks, businesses will have more time to focus on completing more important tasks. This technology will help reduce errors in data from human input and so leading to more cost-effective, higher quality compliance services. This could help your company progress faster as you and your employees will have more time to focus on more strategic tasks, whilst progressing your business’s development.
5. What are the concerns
A concern amongst many finance workers is that these bots will be replacing humans, meaning there are fewer jobs available. People working in the increasingly automated areas may feel they do not want the introduction of bots into their company. Some firms would also rather avoid these changes - this may be because of the high up-front costs or because the system that they have in place at the moment is working successfully.
While bots will never replace humans in full, avoiding the adoption of these technological advances may make businesses fall behind and there will be no place for them in the new market, meaning companies need to keep up with these trends to maintain their place.
So what's the best way forward? Embrace these bots so you can speed up those pesky manual tasks, advance the technological capability of your business - and focus more time on the work you love to do!
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