Balancing the Risks and Opportunities of AI in Accounting

February 5th 2024 | Posted by Dave Cross

AI is a real game changer in the world, and it’s revolutionising accounting. However, it’s essential that accounting professionals manage its use and act cautiously.

They must pay attention to the reliability of the tools they use and the security of client data.

Therefore, it’s vital to recognise that while AI can augment the efficiency and clarity of accounting, there is still a requirement for human interaction and insight. Keep reading to learn more about the risks and opportunities that AI brings to the accounting profession.

The expansion of AI in accounting

Accountants have become used to the impact of technology on their profession in recent years. So, it’s not surprising that most accountants welcome AI and are accepting of it. The majority of them believe that using AI has the potential to enhance their work rather than threaten their jobs.

Using these tools releases them from having to complete routine tasks. This gives them more time to concentrate on value-added activities that require human insight and expertise.

Risks of adopting AI in accounting

In addition to the positive aspects of AI, there are risks that accounting professionals must be aware of. The use of AI tools can expose client data to security threats. So, when using them, accountants must take measures always to ensure security.

The most successful accountants also recognise that AI is not infallible. They know not to become complacent and to always verify the accuracy of findings so they do not use incorrect data.

Why human judgement remains essential

The risk of data being incorrect means that human judgement and knowledge will always have a role to play in accounting. Clients also value having a human being in their corner to provide professional judgement and advice.

This value exists because the nuances of human decision-making cannot be completely replicated by algorithms. Humans add context and personal experience to their decisions. The importance of human involvement in accounting decisions means that accountants must maintain a hands-on approach to their work.

This approach includes ensuring decisions are always in the best interests of the business and relevant to the current circumstances. It also includes embracing AI checks and balances as part of the accounting workflow to prevent inaccuracies from occurring.

In summary

Overall, AI is a positive force in accounting. It enhances processes by making them more efficient and by completing repetitive tasks to release humans to complete value-added work. However, accounting professionals must still have a hands-on approach as AI is fallible, and it does not have the same nuanced approach as humans.

Accountants include ethics, trust, and previous experience in their processes. AI does not have the ability to do this.

So, AI undoubtedly has a vital ongoing role to play in accounting. However, a balance must be struck between its use and the role of human professionals. Striking this balance ensures the most positive and productive future for the accounting profession and those people who are part of it.