As we are very much aware, technology is ever changing. How does this impact an accountant’s role? Can accounting thrive in the midst of technology evolution?

The title of my previous write-up, “Impossibility of Automating an Accountant’s Job”, speaks for itself. It proved that the Accounting profession has not only thrived but also evolved in line with the digital era.

According to Dr Cheng Qiang, in the article “Rise of the machines: The changing face of accounting” in the The Straits Times (Education – B10) dated 19 February 2018 by Fabian Koh, eventhough analytics and big data have rattled the accounting setting, it also provides new opportunities.

Dr Cheng Qiang’s opinion is that people generally think that accounting is the same as bookkeeping. He further added that accountants do not merely just keep track of financial transactions. They gather and analyse companies’ financial data, and provide consultancy on their business transactions, which includes risk management and digital planning.

As mentioned in my previous write-up, “Impossibility of Automating an Accountant’s Job”, 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.

Dr Cheng stated that some jobs in accounting that can be automated are being replaced by machines. We also need to accept the fact some jobs done by machines are more productive. There is also a possibility that new jobs can be created due to the usage of technology.

Allow me to quote afew sentences from “Impossibility of Automating an Accountant’s Job”. “Accountants may utilise data analytics tools to present more focused and prompt financial expertise to assist business in today’s volatile environment. 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.”

Thus, I definitely agree with Dr Cheng when he said that the traditional method of teaching accounting professionals to just analyse and look at data is no longer suitable. Technology will allow accounting professionals to gather massive amount of data to analyse them and make judgements based on the information gathered. Dr Cheng concluded that computers, which are very fast and efficient, should be utilised to do the automation work and we do the high-level work.

Kenwyn Sivagami Kavashgar

Analytics and Big Data

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