Accountants everywhere know better than most that they need to be keeping a close eye on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, especially since these disruptive innovations stand to seriously threaten their employment opportunities in the future. The foreboding idea that an accounting singularity is approaching, a confluence of disparate events that will reshape the industry as we know it forever, is also growing in popularity amongst accountants today. So, what’s the truth behind this so-called accounting singularity?
Here’s how you can start preparing to face the accounting singularity, and the hottest trends you need to keep a close eye on if you want to avoid being rendered obsolete by the wave of change that will soon be crashing over the accounting industry.
Take a deep breath – it’s not the end of the world
First things first, let’s establish what’s true about the so-called “accounting singularity” that we’re approaching, and what’s not. For the most part, accountants everywhere are in total panic caused by fears that they’ll soon be replaced by intelligent machines, particularly ones capable of number-crunching and handling complex, analytical task better than humans. While it’s true that a forthcoming wave of automation is likely to strike the industry, and that many lower-level jobs in accounting that are staples of the industry today will be replaced by algorithmic processes tomorrow, there’s much that accountants can do to survive the automation revolution.
If you want to be well-prepared for the accounting singularity, however, you’ll need to do more than read up on things like artificial intelligence. While machine learning technologies are truly impressive, and are fundamentally coming to reshape a myriad of industries, the fact of the matter is that they’re only one aspect of the broader accounting singularity you need to be focusing on. As the term “accounting singularity” itself suggest, we’re approaching a moment when a plethora of disparate disruptions all collide at once, so focusing too much on any one thing is likely to leave you blind to the other factors that are driving change in today’s accounting industry.
For starters, start looking to how governmental regulations will change in the immediate future as it pertains to the accounting industry, and you’ll see why focusing too much on tech can leave you open to being surprised elsewhere. Global accounting standards are rapidly changing, and you’ll need to stay abreast of them if you don’t want to be caught off guard, and thus rendered an ineffective part of your firm’s day to day operations.
To face the singularity with success, you need to start mastering some key skills that will ensure you retain a certain level of flexibility in the employment market, and should consider re-evaluating the basic principles that drove you to become a CPA in the first place.
Tomorrow’s accountants will be a different breed
The forthcoming accounting singularity may seem foreboding, but it’s not the end of the world. Despite this, tomorrow’s accountants will indeed be playing fundamentally different roles than those CPAs of today, but this is perfectly logical, and really just a continuation of history as normal; after all, CPAs of the early 2000’s were vastly different than their predecessors from earlier eras, and change is the one constant thing in the business world regardless of what field you find yourself in.
To remain viable in the long-term employment market, then, you need to remain flexible and gain a disparate arsenal of skills that can’t be easily automated. Today’s accounting firms are overwhelmingly leaning towards flexible arrangements with their employees for good reasons; old ways of working for corporations are simply ineffective in the modern marketplace. That’s why you may want to consider broadening your career’s scope, and adopting some new, marketable skills if you intend to remain relevant.
You should be brushing up on your people skills, as they’re not merely invaluable to your social life, but will prove crucial towards your career in an industry dominated by machines, too. This may seem contrary to reason, but when you understand that tomorrow’s clients will want a human face to greet them instead of a chilling robotic program, you can see how mastering social savviness and becoming an interpersonal communications expert will prove lucrative towards your long-term career prospects.
The accounting singularity doesn’t have to spell out the end of accountants; above all else, you just need to remember never to set any of your plans in stone, as rapid disruptions are sure to shake the accounting industry even more in the near future. Stay on your toes, and be ready to migrate to new positions that demand new skills at any time, and you’ll be well on your way towards facing down the foreboding accounting singularity with success, and remaining a brilliantly successful CPA for years to come.