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Surviving and Thriving in an Automated World

Posted by Alexander Hagerup on Feb 13, 2019 8:39:00 AM
Alexander Hagerup
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Surviving and Thriving in an Automated World

With automation available directly to clients via ERP systems, and tech-focused accounting firms pricing traditional accounting firms out of the market, it might seem like the war is over before it has barely begun. Is there even any use for traditional accounting firms anymore?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

The following is an excerpt from The Future of Accounting Technology: Preparing for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.”

Train the Best AI

The primary way to protect a firm from rising competition is to make sure that its AI is based on the best technology possible, and that it is the best-in-class AI for a firm’s specific client base.

A firm that trains its AI to do accounting for a specific client will be able to perform that service better than any other firm and technology platform. Starting early will lock clients into that specific firm; the earlier client territory can be claimed with AI, the better.

Maintain Trusted Advisor Relationships

In the face of artificial intelligence performing accounting work, there will always remain a demand for trusted advisor relationships with clients. To continue to focus on advisor relationships, accounting firms need to set aside the time and staff to nurture those relationships.

Firms should also help their employees be recognized as prominent CPAs in their communities.

Employees should:

  • Earn and maintain all necessary education and licensing.

  • Publish materials to exhibit domain knowledge and expertise.

  • Pursue speaking engagements at industry events.

Provide Better Advice Powered by AI

Google uses AI to deliver perfectly relevant search results to you. Netflix uses AI to know exactly which movie to recommend to keep you binge watching. Facebook’s AI knows which news stories to show – and in what order – to keep you scrolling endlessly through your news feed.

AI can do the same thing for accountants, coming up with relevant suggestions and courses of action for how clients should operate their businesses.

As AI increasingly understands what is going on from a financial perspective, the way accountants provide advice to clients will change. In the future, accountants will take a collection of AI suggestions, briefly pare it down to the best advice, then present that to clients.


Is your firm ready to compete head-to-head with tech-focused accounting firms? Share your thoughts in the section for comments below.

To learn more about surviving and thriving in an automated world, download your copy of “The Future of Accounting Technology: Preparing for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.”

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Topics: Accounting

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