For an accountancy firm to compete effectively in the UK accountancy sector, it must utilise cutting-edge technology.
I embraced this model many years ago, when I first started out in business. By doing so, I was able to implement a tremendous amount of workload-reducing procedures in my own award-winning accountancy firm at the time.
I founded We Run Your Practice when I realised that other accountancy firms could benefit from this service — making them profitable while reducing their workload.
Probably the most exciting advance in technology for accountants is the use of artificial intelligence in accounting.
Previously, a subject only touched upon in Science Fiction movies and novels, the use of artificial intelligence in accounting has since become a day-to-day fact.
And few accountants know about it, never mind fully leverage it!
What is Artificial Intelligence in Accounting?
Artificial Intelligence is defined as:
“The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”
Some key words pop up in that definition that should alert any trained accountant to the potential use of Artificial Intelligence in an accountancy practice.
“Decision-making” requires data. And, through the analysis of financial data for a client’s accounts, decisions can be made.
There is only so much data the human mind can process in a second. A computer can process much more than that.
And, so, we enter one aspect of the realm of Artificial Intelligence as applied to accounting.
Visual perception, speech recognition, language translation — these things have become the norm. For example, merely by inputting data into a system like Xero and QuickBooks, we are allowing that software to engage in the perception of that data.
Which Existing Systems Utilise Advanced Artificial Intelligence for Accounting?
In a world surrounded by such mind-boggling technological advances as virtual reality, constant connectedness and continual communication, it is easy to overlook that we already do live in that sci-fi future only dreamed about in novels.
It isn’t so much a question of which accounting systems utilise artificial intelligence, but which ones don’t.
Let’s take a simple task which is offered by all the major online accounting software vendors: Automatically matching bank transactions to invoices.
This is a process of decision-making, which is the very meaning of artificial intelligence.
Many analysis and reporting tools also implement artificial intelligence to draw conclusions and provide visual representations of data.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in Accounting
The place where truly advanced Artificial Intelligence in accounting starts to shine is in a specialised field called RPA, or Robotic Process Automation.
A recent article in Blackline Magazine stated:
“In finance and accounting organisations, RPA employs machine learning techniques to monitor simple accounting tasks such as journal entries, credit notes or accrual calculations. When a result goes beyond a set threshold, RPA can initiate a solution by triggering a remediation workflow.”
There is currently no “one-software-fits-all” for RPA in accounting, that I know of.
But, utilising extensive knowledge of a plethora of online and offline tools, it is possible to emulate, to a large degree, Robotic Process Automation in an accounting firm.
By knowing how to interconnect and integrate all these various tools into one cohesive system and workflow, one can start to implement RPA solutions in one’s practice, such as:
- Automating secretarial work
- Automating scheduling for clients
- Automating alerts for client bank accounts
- Automating innumerable day-to-day tasks which consume time and reduce profits
Which tools to use to effect this RPA is an extensive subject. Indeed, a comprehensive understanding of all the potential integrations and tools available is key.
Our own understanding of this field, obtained as a result of years of work in the accountancy sector, prompted us to found We Run Your Practice, which assists accountancy practices in implementing advanced AI in their practice, and so reduce their workflow.
For a taste of many of these procedures, we provide a free ebook discussing many of these tools as well as how to implement some of them in an accountancy practice.
Regardless of the particular tool or software chosen, the thing to understand clearly is that Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation have arrived. They are here, and the most successful accountancy practices are utilising this advanced technology to decrease their workload and increase their efficiency.
We Run Your Practice was recently shortlisted for the Digital and Innovative Firm of the Year Award, by Accounting Excellence. Our entire firm is built on the idea of implementing advanced AI to be able to white-label multiple firms under our umbrella and assist them in turning a profit.
By utilising this advanced technology, it is indeed possible to turn a higher profit in an accountancy firm as a result of the enormous time such processes save.