Automation will never replace accountants

A recent survey found that four in 10 accountants are worried that technology will make their jobs obsolete in the future.

But I am not one of that 40%.

You see, while I accept that accounting jobs have evolved and will continue to evolve thanks to automation, computers will never have the reasoning ability of a human.  

At their core they only understand yes and no. They just are able to do it very quickly.

Working together

The phenomenon of new technologies disrupting the workforce isn't a new concept. But with every wave of panic, there's always the same cycle of debate: outrage, denial, compromise, and, sometimes, defeat.

Ironically, where accountants are concerned, they have played a huge part in consulting to create the very technology that they are worried will replace them.

There has been a huge rise in accounting software in recent years and the truth is, it is hugely useful. It has helped us to be better at our jobs.

Rather than put accountancy firms out of business, it has actually empowered them to expand their services and target clients more effectively. It has also given customers greater understanding of what their accountant really does for them.

Accountancy has become more accessible, easier to understand. Technology has helped improved industry standards, and given business owners more control over the financial health of their company.

None of this is a bad thing.

Embracing change

Accounting is not black and white. But computers only really deal with binary choices. So what happens to all the shades of grey?

When you look at it this way, I think it is a stretch to say that computers can handle your accounts better than a human.

Financial advisors will always have a role to play in helping entrepreneurs decipher the numbers, bookkeepers in managing the daily receipts and log books of big businesses and accountants in handling the software which helps you file your annual tax return.

A recent survey of 1341 accountants undertaken by found that almost half had deep concerns about their future job prospects within the profession.

But this is very short-sighted.

Our clients chose to work with us because we are far more than a computer screen and an automated voice.

We know our customers - we understand the intricacies of their business needs, can offer bespoke advice and a host of services. 

Today’s accountant needs to be armed with a broad range of skills including management, business advisory, technology and new business development skills.

But they also need to remember what it is to be human. If you ask me, technology simply can't beat a friendly face.