3 min read

The Rise of the Machines: How AI Is Changing the Accounting Game


You’ve heard about AI, but have you heard about what it can do for accounting? Let’s be honest: artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the new kid on the block. In recent years, we’ve seen what this amazing technology can do. Artificial intelligence is an innovative development that’s changing several industries as we speak. 

Now, let’s talk about accounting — the wonderful field of numbers, deductions, and everyone’s favorite, data entry – yay! AI is making some serious moves on manually tedious tasks in this sector. This technology also improves bookkeeping, which once ate up your lunch hours. Complex calculations and data analysis that seemed like math marathons? Thanks to AI’s ability to learn and adapt at warp speed, they’re now a sprint.

Let’s take a comprehensive look into how AI is changing the accounting world, big time.



AI’s Evolving Role in Accounting

In 2024, generative AI tools, such as advanced versions of ChatGPT, are bringing critical decision-making capabilities. They can analyze trends, prepare financial reports, and offer strategic advice, often with insights that even seasoned professionals might overlook. While this may sound scary at first (are the new robot overlords taking over the world?), a survey by McKinsey found that an impressive 55% of organizations already use AI in at least one of their functions. 

Even smaller businesses without the budget for large accounting departments can now access high-level analysis and strategic planning. AI is helping firms stay agile, making data-driven decisions the norm rather than the exception. You might be wondering if AI is here to replace us, but don’t worry. The World Economic Forum states that a profession that uses critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and creativity — like accounting — can’t be replaced by AI. So, this raises the question: While organizations implement AI in their everyday tasks, how can we work hand in (robotic) hand with this new technology in our field? 


The Effects and Implications of AI in Accounting

Worried about wasting your money on AI? Well, Business Insider’s crystal gazing predicted AI will save financial players $447 billion by 2023. Let that sink in; that’s enough money to buy every NBA team, and there’s still change left for a private island or two. 

But hold on, this ain’t just about money. Let’s explore a bit more with real case examples of how AI is helping accounting and finance companies improve their customer service, propel their fraud system, and take their operations to the next level. 


Real-World Stories of AI in Accounting

1. Chatbots for Easy Reviews: Thanks to Xero’s chatbot Hey Xero, accountants can now work more efficiently and accurately. This AI can streamline the document review while identifying mistakes and discrepancies even a trained eye can miss.  

2. Automating Documentation Like a Pro: Deloitte has developed an AI-powered document review platform that combines machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to automate and improve the document review process for accountants. This platform is designed to interpret language, recognize patterns, and identify key information, handling the heavy duty of repetition and allowing accountants to increase their review capacity. 

3. Operational Efficiency: Say hello to us! Botkeeper is the game-changer in the US accounting scene. We’re all about smashing the old ways of bookkeeping to improve operational efficiency. With the use of machine learning and workflow tools, companies can now auto-categorize transactions and flow them to the GL, thanks to our platform. The more you use it, the better it gets, learning from its experiences to improve its accuracy over time. Now, that’s what we call a good self-insert. 

While these are good examples of how AI is improving the accounting industry, some of you philosophers and bioethics experts out there may be asking: But what are the ethical considerations of AI in accounting? Let’s take a quick lesson on ethics in AI to implement these technologies and understand how they can work with human customers.  


Taking the Ethical AI Bull by the Horns 

First off, let’s address the elephant in the room: AI is only as good as the data feeding it. This can give bias a field to grow if we aren’t careful. Those sneaky biases can turn AI’s judgment into a Facebook political group in no time. In the world of accounting and finance, where fairness is a core element, bias can wreak havoc, leading to bad outcomes.

Then, there’s accountability. When AI makes a call that raises eyebrows, who will we blame? The creators? The AI itself? While AI is far from perfect, we need ethical tools to learn how to operate and streamline accounting processes to be honest, accountable, and responsible. We also need to remember that there’s no substitute for human oversight. 

Diversity in AI training data is the first step for removing bias. By ensuring the data reflects a broad spectrum of scenarios, this technology can make transparent decisions. Magazine describes a brilliant method of considering the ethical use of AI. Think of your AI tools as an entry-level employee. While they can do an okay job at first, being cautious and double-checking what they created is an important practice prior to presenting the results of an analysis to your clients. 


Human vs. Machine? More Like Human AND Machine

Far from being a sidekick or even replaced, accountants will be crucial in contextualizing machine learning outputs for their clients, ensuring that the data analyzed by AI is rooted in empathy, clear and open communication, and honesty. 

But that’s not all; embracing continuous learning is non-negotiable. The tools of tomorrow require a willingness to understand, ensuring that today’s accounting professionals remain the invaluable assets of tomorrow. The future of accounting isn’t just arriving; it’s here, fueled by new technologies that are improving how we do accounting and bookkeeping. 

To learn more about how Botkeeper Infinite’s machine learning can automate your bookkeeping processes and just make life generally more peachy, why not chat with us? We can show you the future of bookkeeping — and all it can save your firm.


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