Many professionals in the accounting and finance fields are worried that they'll be obsolete soon because of technology. However, that is not the case. Instead, companies are more determined to procure clientele and should start providing more accurate services like business management and portfolio analysis, which leads to more cash inflow and stable finance.
Automation must be considered to help businesses grow and sustain high revenue levels. Whether through AI chatbots or blockchain analytics, accountants and controllers must stay updated with technology trends to stay ahead of the competition in the finance industry.
The adoption of new technology platforms has accelerated rapidly in recent years due to rapid adoption by consumers and increased availability of a wide variety of software solutions in the market.
Various technologies are emerging in the marketplace and becoming accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes. This enables them to transform their business models and leverage new technologies to improve procedures and gain market share.
We had our BuzzChat Event a few weeks ago and discussed "Digital Innovation in Accounting & Finance Industry." We had our host Tommie Edwards, and our fantastic guest speakers, Toyosi Akinfemiwa, the CEO and Founder of Elizabeth Roberts Accountants, and Uma Indran, a Finance Consultant.
Together, we analysed the innovations we're already experiencing in the finance industry.
Impact of Digital Innovation on Accounting Finance
Digital innovation has dramatically transformed the business world, creating new and exciting opportunities for professionals at all levels. So, what exactly are these changes?
Technology has dramatically improved employees' work by making it more efficient and reducing many tasks. Technology can also be helpful in accounting & finance by enhancing bookkeeping so everyone can focus on their jobs.
As a result, new trends have emerged, including mobile accounting & finance software and cloud-based solutions. These infrastructures are helping companies stay competitive by giving them access to crucial financial information anytime they need it.
There are digital tools that integrate your accounting, finance and tax practices into one system. As a result, you can spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on ones that truly matter.
Speed and Automation
A recent report by Deloitte states that "automation, process optimisation, and digital workplace technologies" are expected to be among critical disruptive trends in the financial industry over the next five years. Specifically, the report cites "the use of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing techniques in analytics" as a trend that will significantly impact financial institutions in the coming years.
According to the Association for Financial Professionals 2017 AFP Global State of Accounts Payable Report, almost 70% of A/P professionals use automation software to help them manage administrative tasks, while 57% use virtual invoicing software to communicate with suppliers electronically.
Automation technologies enable accounting and finance teams to collect and consolidate financial data across systems. They can also share data across different business units and departments without transferring information manually.
Businesses can save $16 or more on each invoice using accounts payable automation software. In F&A processes, automation and digitisation are essential enablers for achieving speed and agility in business.
"When I started my practice, we had a person whose job was to paste receipts on paper, then pass it on to the person who did the bookkeeping, before it finally gets to the accountants. All that has been eroded. Now there's a faster and smoother accounting process." - Toyosi Akinfemiwa.
Toyosi also highlighted the essence of real-time information in accounting & finance. With technology, there's real-time information in key areas. For example, cloud-based solutions can help employees access real-time data on payroll and payslips.
What Accounting Tasks Can Machines Perform?
Automating accounting & finance procedures increases productivity, decreases costs, and frees workers to concentrate on other areas. Also, CFOs and other financial leaders who adjust to the new reality will be in a solid position to steer future efforts to modernise the company's operations, as automation will eventually permeate most divisions.
The processing of accounts payable and receivable can be significantly streamlined through digital workflows and invoice management systems powered by artificial intelligence. The right accounting terminology for paying bills can be learned.
Machines can perform credit checks, tax records, and even portal queries when setting up and verifying new suppliers with little human intervention.
The audit process can be made more reliable through a digital audit trail that reveals each file's access time and identity.
As a result, auditors no longer need to sift through stacks of paper to find the information they need; instead, they can simply access the relevant data from the available digital files.
With the increased efficiency and accuracy that comes from conducting an audit digitally, it is now possible to audit every one of a business's financial transactions rather than just a random sample.
Your accounting & finance department's time will be consumed by the time spent managing expenses to ensure they are in line with company policy. Machines that read receipts can conduct audits of expenditures and alert humans to any irregularities they find.
With faster and safer work, we can set aside time to focus on our most important things. In addition, Digital systems now allow us to change how the profession looks. They are available to all employees who use them at any time and place. With further digitisation, the accounting will be able to meet new challenges in the digital world.