The manual entry of accounting parts in the accounting tool accounts for more than 50% of time and total cost. With the automation of that part using artificial intelligence, accounting firms can have it both ways. A plea for an optimistic future, by Thomas Bourgeois, CEO of Dhatim.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and software robotisation are revolutionising the professional practices of white collars and threatening the sustainability of some jobs, like accounting ones. What if they were above all an unique opportunity to allow them to reinvent themselves, to expand their range of services and to invest in the future ?
A disruptive uberisation
You said uberisation ? For the last ten years, without any second thought, startups built with an idea, a laptop and an internet connection have disrupted industrial empires. Even though they virtually possess no asset, the market capitalisation of some of those startups is even more important tan their century-old competitor’s, « Brick and Mortar ». In politics, in France, the trend is the same. Former parties have started to crumble under the relentless growth of a new generation that reinvents rules and codes. Should an era be regretted or the dawn of a new one be applauded ? The reality is that those changes create an emulation and force the existing actors to innovate and to draw on their DNA to reinvent themselves and innovate. Ultimately, it is in the best interests of citizens.
Artificial intelligence and robotisation : dangers or opportunities ?
If you have liked the blockbuster « Uberisation is going to kill us », then the new one : « Artificial Intelligence is going to take our jobs » won’t disappoint you. And yet, AI is already there, among us, and is already transforming our everyday habits. Chatbots, those virtual conversation assistants fitted with artificial intelligence, are increasingly helping us to phrase a request on the internet or to use our smartphone applications. In firms, processing huge amounts of informations in just a few seconds, software robots help support functions, like RH or accounting, get rid of multiple fastidious tasks and strictly routine ones. Those robots optimise managers’ time, allowing them to apply themselves to much more interesting missions, related to their core business. Therefore, is this new paradigm shift that is AI a major opportunity or a threat ?
Towards a major evolution of support functions
Let’s take the example of the accountant. That professional ranks among the top 3 of jobs that can be replaced by the use of artificial intelligence softwares. It isn’t a surprise when you know that this function includes an important part of routines and often manual tasks. Whether it’d be for writing recordings, for invoice verification or for transcript under accounting standards, those repetitive missions take accountants a very long time. Moreover, doing all manually isn’t an asset, it doesn’t allow for more precision. On the contrary, the more the volume of documents to check increase, the less reliable it is, because of the tiredness. Thanks to the digital assistants and to AI, that job can gain up to 50% in productivity. Thereupon, should AI be seen as a threat, considering the job cuts, or as an opportunity, contemplating the turnover increase it promises ?
Choosing between insularity and economic optimism
In the different steps from production to accounting, manual entry of accounting parts in the accounting tool accounts for more than 50% of time and total cost. With the automation of that part thanks to artificial intelligence, accounting firms can have it both ways. With the same number of employees, thanks to the productivity gains, they are able to provide for more customers and with a higher quality of assistance. They can thus increase their turnover, with the same number of employees. In addition, they can capitalise on the detailed datas that AI provides them with to upmarket their image to their customers. In return for remuneration, they can provide them with value added services, regarding firm management consultancy services. Those services include, among other things, predictive management or cost control, thanks to dashboards depending on the type of expenses, or thanks to procurement benchmarks.
By bringing it into the twenty-first century thanks to AI, the accounting firms make their job much more stimulating for their employees. What is more, they better their odds of drawing the talents of the new generation. Evolution is inevitable. New norms and regulatory obligations like DSN are already making the former approaches obsolete. AI provide those multiple professionals, among multiple others, with an unique opportunity to reinvent their job to make it inspiring, as well as more gainful. Those who will be able to seize this opportunity will be the winners !
This editorial is a translation by Marie Debris of an editorial by Thomas Bourgeois, CEO of Dhatim, in La Tribune, leading french Finance & Economy media