How Technology is Disrupting Accounting and Finance

Print this article or save it as a PDF

Download PDF

Technology has disrupted so many industries in recent years. Taxi service, travel, banking and shopping have been radically transformed by technology and innovation. These industries have been turned upside down and reshaped in just a few years.

The same is true for the accounting industry. Accounting is no longer a person at a desk opening mail and processing invoices. A majority of invoices are sent electronically, and many are automatically paid through a processing system. The merger of technology and accounting is becoming greater and greater everyday, and business leaders need to stay ahead of this change. They need to understand that technology is quickly changing the way accounting functions within an organization.

Big Data
Big data is a buzzword these days, but that’s because companies collect and process huge amounts of information. Accounting is a massive amount of data compiled together that tells you the financial health of your organization. Companies must better understand and make sense of the data within their organization, and accounting professionals are an important tool in that journey. The data can help companies better predict the future and make important decisions. It takes talented people to make sense of big data.

AI
Artificial intelligence is using machines to help you make better decisions. The technology has begun to impact the accounting industry, and its influence is only going to increase. According to a report by Accenture, cross-functional teams that include artificial intelligence will deliver more than 80 percent of traditional financial services by 2020. In fact, Accenture predicts that statisticians, data scientists, behavioral scientists, and economists will be as common within large organizations as CPAs, because those skills will be needed to understand  artificial intelligence and other technologies. Artificial intelligence can quickly analyze reports and budgets and identify potential cost savings within an organization. It will take a team of experienced people to make the final decision.

Automation of data entry
Data entry is not a common function of accounting anymore, and that is becoming less and less the case. Accounting software remembers behavior and can enter the information based on the first few items typed into the program. The technology also allows other people to access the same information, so it can be easily shared. Often times, accounting software and inventory systems are tied together. When an order is processed, the information is entered into the inventory system and automatically added to the accounting system. The technology has automated many of the traditional tasks of accounting, and that is fundamentally changing the way accounting operates.

Mobile Computing
You don’t need to sit at your desk to process a transaction or manage a company’s finances. You can perform key financial functions from a cellphone, tablet or laptop. The information is in the cloud so it can be processed anywhere. A person can take a photo of a receipt with a phone and add the information to the accounting system. A bill can be sent directly from the mobile device, and a payment can be processed as well. You can also access you bank account and move money around on your phone. The technology makes the entire process mobile, and that has changed the make-up and locations of professionals in the accounting industry.

Connection Convergence
In the past, accounting took place in a company’s accounting office, and the process often involved reams of paper. The Internet has completely changed that. An accounting staff member can be located anywhere. A person can work from home, a coffee shop or the office. It doesn’t matter where he or she are located, it only matters if the person does a good job. In fact, many Millennials prefer the option of remote working these days, and companies must adapt to the new reality as they are the biggest percentage of workers today.

Customization and Personalization
Technology has caused a specialization in many industries, and the same is true for accounting. No longer is the general accountant in huge demand. With technology, accounting is becoming less about general practices and more about customized services and personalization. Products and services are packaged together to meet the individual customer’s needs. The goal is to offer deeper insights into a business and to grow the relationship based on the client’s specific needs.  Companies want specialized help to understand the numbers and the information to make smart decisions.