According to the article “Why robots won’t steal accountants’ jobs” in The Straits Times (Opinion – A40) dated 24 June 2017, it is clear that it is impossible to automate an accountant’s job. Since automation is inevitable, instead of fearing that robots would take over an accountant’s job, an accountant should embrace the opportunities provided by the latest digital developments.
The skill sets required in the accounting profession are developing gradually. The developments of technology has allowed accountants to reduce or even stop mundane and menial tasks. This allows them to seek work that generates higher incomes for the company. Routine activities are being automated with accounting software such as Quickbooks and Xero. The usage of accounting software would reduce accountants’ jobs unless they pursue higher value roles.
Accountants may utilise data analytics tools to present more focused and prompt financial expertise to assist business in today’s volatile environment. An example would be reports of point-of-sale transactions may be utilised to predict future consumer behaviour patterns and also to know what product stocks to hold, thus, reducing capital and rental expenses.
Accountants who are able to utilise data analytics to interpret consumer behaviour patterns, will be able to advise companies on their business plans and strategies. It would be best for accountants to be part of the team that designs the systems and machines that automate accounting jobs, as they are the ultimate end users. Auditors will need to undergo training to be able to audit these systems and machines.
The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) issued a joint report title “The Future of Professional Learning and Entrepreneurship” stated that there was unanimous consent that the worth of the accounting profession is in an accountant’s ethics and integrity. Some participants’ had the opinion that clients would an increased trust in audit opinions when they are delivered by an auditor instead of a robot.
Thus, there is little to worry about that the accounting profession will be made redundant due to the advancement of technology. Accounting profession has not only thrived but also evolved in line with the digital era.
Kenwyn Sivagami Kavashgar