Does automation make people lazy?

A recent report has issued caution to accounting firms that perform audit services regarding automation.  The fear?  That automation might make auditors lazy.

Is this true?

Well first, let’s think about what’s being automated.

Is it the…most engaging and enjoyable aspects of an accountants job?  (solving problems and delivering value) OR boring, tedious and time consuming so called ‘busy work’ that doesn’t really require all that much brain power?

Here’s the thing…

Generally speaking people don’t want all of their problems to go away.  They only want the problems they don’t want to deal with to go away.  Solving challenging problems and providing value is often reported as the most enjoyable aspect of people’s work.

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Automation offers to take away the busy work that drains our energy which wastes our resources on low-impact tasks.  If instead, we could delegate that effort away and focus on what we enjoy most, we’d be more likely to see a huge productivity boost.

So do I think automation will make people lazy?

My answer is no because I’ve actually witnessed the opposite.  If the boring stuff is automated then people are free to search out the problems they actually want to solve.

Imagine what you and your team could accomplish if you didn’t have all that busy work slowing you down?

PS.  You can read the report published by PCAOB here and if you want to know more about the desire of people to solve interesting problems check out this book.

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