Useful AI and Automation Tools for Accountants
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force in various industries, revolutionizing the way tasks are performed and reshaping job roles, including the field of accounting. The use of accounting software and tools has already automated many processes such as data entry, reconciliation and financial statement generation. As AI technologies continue to advance, accountants must adapt to the changing landscape to remain relevant and excel in their profession.
Several major accounting firms have already shifted towards AI and heavier use of technology to enhance their capabilities to serve their clients. PwC recently announced that it will spend $1 billion in the next three years on AI capabilities to upskill their workforce and processes to help their clients reinvent their businesses, generate richer insights, boost productivity and develop new products and services.
KPMG is using Mindbridge’s advanced AI technology to enhance audit quality and provide deeper organizational insights by providing auditors the ability to detect unexpected or high-risk transactions in advance, which will lead to more transparent, visible and explainable audits.
Deloitte has launched the Deloitte AI Academy to provide an educational ecosystem between academia, technology companies, corporate learning providers, Deloitte AI specialists, career development and talent experience programs. This will provide a hands-on, immersive bootcamp for their clients.
Following are examples of AI and automation software impacting the accounting field:
- Robotic process automation (RPA). RPA can automate data entry, report generation, reconciliation and other routine processes. RPA software such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blue Prism automates repetitive and rules-based tasks, allowing accountants to focus on higher-value activities.
- Natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). NLP and ML technologies are used in various software applications to analyze and interpret text or speech. They can be leveraged for tasks such as extracting information from financial documents, understanding and responding to client inquiries, or generating narratives for financial reports. Examples include Deloitte’s Audit Command Language, BioBERT for biomedical language representation and FinBERT which contains financial data.
- Data analytics and business intelligence (BI) tools. AI-powered data analytics and BI tools enable accountants to process large volumes of financial data, identify trends, perform predictive analysis and generate meaningful insights. Popular solutions include Tableau, Power BI and QlikView.
- Audit tools. Audit software solutions, such as CaseWare IDEA, ACL Analytics and TeamMate Analytics, incorporate AI capabilities to automate audit procedures, analyze data for anomalies and facilitate risk assessment. These tools can enhance audit quality and efficiency.
- AI-enabled tax software. Tax software with AI capabilities helps accountants streamline tax compliance, calculations and reporting. Solutions like Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE, Intuit ProConnect Tax Online and Wolters Kluwer CCH Axcess Tax utilize AI to automate tax-related processes, stay updated with changing regulations and optimize tax planning.
- Financial planning and budgeting software. AI-powered financial planning and budgeting software, such as Workday Adaptive Planning, Anaplan and Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud, leverage predictive analytics and scenario modeling to improve accuracy, enable real-time forecasting and facilitate collaborative planning processes.
- Fraud detection and risk management tools. Advanced fraud detection software, such as SAS Fraud Framework and ACL Analytics Exchange, applies advanced analytics and machine learning to identify anomalies, patterns of fraudulent activities and potential risks in financial data. These tools can help accountants proactively detect and mitigate fraud.
- Virtual assistants and chatbots. Virtual assistants like Xero Assistant, Sage Intacct Smart Events and QuickBooks Assistant employ advanced software technologies to provide conversational interfaces for accountants, assisting with queries, data retrieval and performing routine tasks.
The impact of AI and advanced software tools on accountants is undeniable, transforming their roles and responsibilities. Those who embrace lifelong learning and continuously update their skills will thrive in the evolving landscape, ensuring their relevance and success in the era of AI.
Reference to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation or favor.
Benjamin M. Lowe
Benjamin M. Lowe is the managing partner of Lebeta Tech, LLC, and lecturer at Seton Hall University.