Accountants believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will have a positive impact on the profession, according to new research published by CABA.
The charity that supports the wellbeing of chartered accountants surveyed 251 accountants and found that 52% believe that AI will have a positive impact on the profession, with 16% either unsure or predicting no impact at all.
Kelly Feehan, service director at CABA, said: “Whilst the adoption of new technology to streamline processes in all professions is inevitable, it’s encouraging to hear that so many chartered accountants think AI will have a positive impact on the profession. As organisations become used to automation, they will start to see how technology can work to complement their workforce.
“Employers must not forget the importance of upskilling their employees in areas that can’t be serviced by technology to future proof the current and future workforce.
“Whilst AI won’t add value to every workplace, or may be too expensive to implement, for some, it could help lessen the burden of menial, administrative tasks on employees and help them advance their career by letting them upskill in other areas.”
When asked what they expect to be the biggest trend in the profession over the next 5 to 10 years, those surveyed, AI was at the top, tied with Brexit induced trends (both 29%) and technology usage to drive efficiency (28%).
AI and adding value
The survey also found that one in four4 (25%) agreed that AI would allow humans to add value elsewhere as it takes on the more menial jobs which can take up a large proportion of accountant’s time.
Furthermore, 17% believed that the adoption of AI/automation will increase productivity and 11% agreed that it would reduce errors and improve attention to detail.
The figures show an increasing awareness of AI and the benefits that it will bring to the profession. As the role of the accountant shifts from compliance to advisory, AI will be come a tool that is used more and more frequently in the coming years to allow accountants to efficiently gather information which they can use to inform their advice given to clients and employers.
The potential that AI has to offer the industry has been shown in a number of studies. One example is that PwC has estimated that “artificial intelligence technologies could increase global GDP by $15.7 trillion, a full 14%, by 2030,” while a study from Redwood Software and Sapio Research found that 60% of businesses could be automated in the next five years.
However, some are still unsure of the benefits AI has to offer the profession, with 32% fearing the adoption of this technology into the workplace, while 6% of those surveyed by CABA said they feared it would eventually replace the workforce completely.