Undoubtedly, the accounting industry will be subject to heavy automation over the coming years. However, people will be involved the whole time and it’s NOT going to happen all at once.
Take self-driving cars for example. My first question is, do you have one?
That answer is highly likely no because they don’t really exist yet. Full self-driving isn’t really available and only a few manufacturers are even ready for limited testing in this mode with heavy supervision.
OK, but how does this example relate?
I want you to think about how long it took us to get to the precipice of self-driving cars. What developments in vehicle technology happened first and how long ago was each invented? Let’s look at few examples.
Cruise Control – early components were originally invented way back in the early 1900s with later more advanced versions like adaptive cruise control coming on the scene first in the early 90s, but only being well refined in recent years.
Self-Parking – early versions also developed in the early 90s, but are still being refined to this day. Here’s a video from 2007 that does an OK job? It works much better today.
Lane-Keep – first on the scene in the early 2010s and still being improved to this day as well.
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I understand those examples, but what’s the point?
The rate at which technology is evolving is accelerating, but it still takes time to get there. Nothing happens overnight. Cruise control alone took over 100 years to get to where it is today.
The accounting industry isn’t going to transform overnight either, but that doesn’t mean that automation can’t have a big impact now. That work is also already underway.
The promise is that almost all of the busy work can be automated to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of your team. However, in this comparison that is equivalent to the self-driving car – not likely to be here anytime soon.
What can happen now is that components of your workflow can be automated now. For example, how long does it take your firm to get a client acceptance letter authorized and out the door to start an engagement? How much of this process is manual and could stand to be automated?
Start looking for the bottlenecks in the process so you can automate them and speed things up now. You don’t have to wait for the ‘self-driving’ car to start making improvements immediately.
PS. You can learn more about the history of cruise control, self-parking and lane keep at these links.