Since the previous decade, accounting automation has been widely discussed, and for good reason: many finance and accounting professionals have expressed fear about this apparent threat to the human workforce.
In fact, The Economist has previously reported that within the next two decades, there is a 94% chance that computerization and other technologies would lead to job losses in the fields of accounting and auditing.
Brace for Impact
However, rather than wring our hands over the rise of automation, we have to prepare ourselves to find ways to add value to our firms. That is, accounting professionals should understand how new technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) can impact our professions. Likewise, businesses and firms should also understand what the disadvantages and the benefits of shifting to RPA are.
Leverage Your Skills
Moreover, rather than compete with automated processes, accountants should seek to complement their software programs. This can be done by positioning one’s self as a trusted advisor who can do more than handle tax returns and audits.
By giving clients advice and support that no machine could provide – yet –, we can offer what computers are unable to: business sense and professional judgment, which is important to your clients. As Jason Ackerman, a columnist for the CPA Journal opined, CPAs should focus the bulk of their time providing value for their client and not get caught up in performing administrative tasks.
Move to the Cloud
Many accounting activities such as invoice processing can now be automated. To streamline your work processes and improve data security, introduce your team to cloud-based business accounting software such as Xero. As your firm adopts new accounting tools and moves certain processes to the cloud, your team can become more productive and start devoting their time to other value-adding tasks.
Get Your Staff’s Buy-In
As with any change, it is crucial to involve your staff – and even your clients – in your transition to automated processes. Listen to your clients to find out what they need, and consider soliciting their suggestions as to what technologies should be adopted in your firm. The same can be done with your staff: consult your workflow experts on what needs to be done, and how.
Change Your Perspective
As we have written previously, RPA will alter, not supplant, existing accounting roles. Nevertheless, there’s no reason for accountants to idly sit on their hands and wait until their roles are no longer needed in their firms.
Now more than ever, finance and accounting professionals have to know how to adapt to the changing demands of their role through constant training, upskilling, and continuous education, if needed.
Want to learn more about RPA? Download our whitepaper and find out how accounting automation will change the future of this industry.