The speed of technological advancement is significantly impacting every industry. This is especially the case in the healthcare, IT, education, and finance sectors. While one goal of these technologies is to make work easier and more enjoyable, there are fears that professional proofreaders, customer experience representatives, and accountants may become obsolete.
In the case of accountants, these fears may or may not be warranted. If accountants become obsolete in 10 years, you’re going to want to be prepared. In this article, we will explore the exact impact of technology in accounting and whether accountants will become obsolete.
What Are Accountants?
An accountant is a professional who handles business and financial transactions and financial information for an organization. They monitor the business’s financial performance, issue salaries, record company expenses and income, monitor company assets, prepare financial reports, prepare tax returns, and aid in decision-making.
They are responsible for a wide range of financial tasks, either for the company that has employed them or for individual or business clients. Accountants typically require a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and certification from a recognized organization. The most reputable accounting certification in the United States is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.
Will Accountants Be Replaced by Future Technology?
Accountants are unlikely to be replaced by technology anytime soon. In the past, accountants had to focus much of their time on data entry and other minor tasks before focusing on primary tasks. While new technologies in robotic process automation are taking these small repetitive tasks out of human hands, human minds are still needed to gather and apply insights from data analysis.
Accounting departments can now focus on more important tasks. Accountants who fear being replaced by future technology should improve their skills so that they can take on job roles that have a bigger impact on businesses. For all the reasons laid out below, the process of automation may even create more job opportunities for accountants.
Humans Need to Analyze and Interpret AI Data
The main aim of automation and other accounting technologies is to outsource data entry and real-time arithmetic work to algorithms. This relieves humans from the pressure of getting accurate figures and gives them more time to analyze and interpret the data to make well-informed business decisions. Computers can work the numbers but not make decisions.
Businesses Trust Human Experience and Instincts
Computers can’t be left to the decision-making process because humans and businesses trust the skills, instincts, and experiences of other humans more. Although technology can generate accurate data, we need humans who understand business and economic systems to guide businesses and business owners in making sound decisions.
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AI Will Allow Accountants to Focus on the Actual Work
The most significant impact that AI will have on accounting is time management. With the use of technology, accountants have more time to focus on advising. The main goal of accountants is to help businesses monitor their finances and make strategic decisions. Without having to worry about data accuracy, accountants can focus on aiding business growth and profit.
Technologies and Trends That Could Make Accountants Obsolete
The invention of accounting technologies began decades ago with the use of accounting punch cards. The world has come a long way since then and we now have modern technologies like automated accounting, blockchain, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and optical character recognition.
Cloud computing entails the storage of data and information in a remote server and not on a hard drive. This makes accessing data possible from any location and device. There are software applications available to allow you to save your accounting information in the cloud.
With this technology, businesses can easily store their accounting details and access them at any time without going through an accountant. Some applications help with the process of purchase orders, expense claims, asset management, payroll, and currency exchange. Using these technologies, businesses only have to input their information. The computer does the rest.
Blockchain technology is a major game-changer in the financial sector. In essence, it is the distribution and decentralization of transactions across computer systems. It saves and protects data, and updates a company’s records to ensure that the information given to each party involved is credible and equal.
It enhances the accuracy of accounting systems, increases validity, and improves productivity. It is almost impossible to hack financial information on a blockchain because every transaction is automatically recorded. According to Research and Markets, the projected growth of blockchain technology between 2021 and 2026 is 68.4 percent.
Automated accounting is the use of software programs to complete accounting tasks. This is one of the most feared technologies among accountants, who falsely believe that their jobs will be taken over by these programs. These software programs actually help make accountants’ jobs easier by completing data entry tasks and correcting human errors.
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According to Research and Market, the accounting software market is projected to grow by nearly nine percent between 2021 and 2026. While these programs are here to stay, the software will allow you to focus on providing more value to a business. With increased profitability will come more advanced roles and better pay for highly skilled accountants.
Optical Character Recognition
This is a growing technology and trend in the financial sector. Optical character recognition software allows you to scan printed or handwritten documents and convert them into machine-readable formats. Its integration with cloud-based accounting systems will make it easy for accountants to share documents and files and arrange them quickly without error.
Artificial intelligence is gaining in popularity, but it is also increasing the fear of being replaced by machines. In actuality, AI will help increase productivity by taking over tedious tasks that accountants used to have to do, such as sorting through thousands of files. In the future, accountants will have time to focus on more important tasks.
Like artificial intelligence, machine learning tools will prevent errors and free up the long hours that used to be spent on getting accurate data. With today’s tools, errors that lead to major problems can be avoided. This is because these machines can be left to handle time-consuming routine tasks and identify problems more quickly than the naked eye.
When Will Accountants Become Obsolete?
Accountants won’t become obsolete any time soon. Accountants will remain a vital part of businesses for many years to come. Until there is a technology that can help make business-driven decisions, accountants have nothing to worry about. However, they may have to familiarize themselves with new technologies to remain relevant.
Companies will need to use these new technologies to remain relevant in the industry and will make it a requirement for their staff. To avoid becoming obsolete in accounting and ensure a brighter future for your career, you will also need to stay informed about these trends and learn to work with them by your side.
What This Means for Businesses
This means that businesses will have to acclimate to the idea of working with technologies. They will need to begin to make use of software to improve their productivity, save time, avoid errors, and make better decisions. Overall, it’s a great change for businesses with no downside. Below is a more detailed explanation of what this means.
Business Productivity Will Be Increased
Software applications will now complete a majority of the tedious and basic accounting tasks like data entry, which slowed down accounting professionals in the past. This will save accountants time to focus on other important tasks. Now, jobs that typically take months to complete will be completed in weeks, increasing business productivity.
Accounting Data Accuracy Will Be Improved
One of the most common issues in the accounting industry is human error. Businesses now see technologies as an easy solution. The machine-generated information will be more accurate and have fewer errors, and a software program is more efficient than a human being at notifying accountants of possible errors in the system.
Businesses Will Make Better Decisions
When working with accurate data, it is easier to make well-informed decisions that will help to improve business processes and increase business productivity and profit. When accountants work together with computers, they can come up with better decisions to help their companies or clients improve their business operations and economic status.
Accountant Job Outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for accountants and auditors will increase by seven percent over the next decade, which is as fast as the average growth across all occupations. Their employment is expected to be closely tied to the economy’s health, and the demand is due to the need to replace retired professionals in the accounting field.
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The accounting profession plays an essential role in the economy, growing as it grows, and will continue to as long as businesses exist. The demand for accountants will also increase as more companies go public and globalization continues.
How Much Money Will Accountants Earn in the Future?
According to BLS, accountants earn an average salary of $73,560, and since they are projected to have increased job growth in the coming years, this rate should not decrease. Accounting is an in-demand field with an impressive salary. Even accountants at the 10th percentile of earners make about $45,220 per year, while the top 10 percent make more than $128,680 per year.
What Are the Best States for Accountants Jobs?
According to BLS, the best states for accountant jobs differ based on different factors like employment level, salary, and concentration of jobs. The states with the highest employment level are California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
The places with the highest concentration of jobs are the District of Columbia, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, and Virginia. The highest-paying states are the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California.
How to Avoid Becoming Obsolete: The Key to Future-Proofing Your Career as an Accountant
While technology isn’t replacing human accountants, it is also vital for accountants to stay at the top of their game by learning to use new technologies. This way, they reduce the chances of being replaced by other skilled accountants already familiar with current software.
Stay Updated on Industry Trends
The first step to avoid becoming obsolete is to continually stay updated with trends in the industry. You should ensure that you are aware of new innovations and get familiar with them through online accounting courses, certifications, training programs or workshops, and any other means to learn them. This will help you stay relevant in the industry.
Learn to Utilize the New Technologies
Every industry evolves and grows, especially as technology advances. You need to ensure that you continue to acclimate yourself to the new technologies in the industry. You should learn them and how to work with them. This will ensure that you continue to be skilled in the field and have job options as a professional.
Build a Diverse Professional Network
Your professional network is a massive factor for your career, regardless of your sector. You should work towards building a diverse network of people who can help you stay up to date with industry trends. This can be in the form of belonging to industry communities or making friends with colleagues.
Does Accounting Have a Future?
Yes, accounting has a future, and a bright one, too. Contrary to the popular notion of technology taking over accounting jobs, technology will be more of a help to them than their replacement. This is especially true for those who embrace technologies, learn them, and utilize them. Familiarizing yourself with them will only increase your relevance in the industry.
These professionals will be in high demand in the industry and have huge opportunities for higher roles. They can explore more strategic roles in financial analysis, take on business advisory positions, become internal controls specialists, or get into financial consultancy. These are jobs that are not likely to be taken over by machines and have impressive salaries.
Will Accountants Become Obsolete? FAQ
Accountants will still be needed in the future, regardless of technological advancements. This is because technology can deal with the numbers but humans are needed to make the decisions and confirm accuracy.
Accounting is not a dying industry. If anything, demand for roles in this field is expected to increase in the coming years.
Accountants will not be replaced in the future, especially not by technology. Some accounting tasks will be automated, which will change what they do on a daily basis.
No, accounting jobs are not going away. Their job roles are only adjusting to suit the new world and embrace modern technology.
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