Assistant Director, Communications & Publications Illinois CPA Society
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tech trends
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What Tech Races Are Ahead for Accountants?

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As an in-the-know accounting professional, you're familiar with buzzwords and trends, like moving items to the "cloud," benefiting from "automation" and "AI" and other technology trends. But what about the technology that will affect your future? Derrick Lilly of the Illinois CPA Society discusses what may lie ahead for CPAs (and it's not exactly robots).

Jul 9th 2021
Assistant Director, Communications & Publications Illinois CPA Society
Columnist
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For sci-fi fans, predictions of a tech takeover might trigger thoughts of rebellious robot uprisings the likes of I, Robot or Westworld. Thankfully, we’re not there yet (and hopefully it never comes to that), but that doesn’t mean smart machines aren’t increasingly permeating and changing our world.

“[E]xpect social robots to become more sophisticated and prevalent in the next few years. The field seems to have reached a tipping point, with bots having greater interactive capabilities and performing more useful tasks than ever before,” says the World Economic Forum in pointing out that worldwide sales of consumer robots is expected to grow to $19 billion by the end of 2025, with more than 65 million robots sold per year.

Consider for a moment that many of us are already using AI at home and work—big tech companies Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung have collectively sold billions of consumer devices enabled with their smart assistants (i.e., Alexa, Cortana, Siri, etc.). What we don’t always realize is that these devices, and the other smart machines—phones, tablets, TVs, speakers, doorbells, thermostats, appliances, watches, vehicles, applications, and more—that we’re connected to and communicating with are learning from us—and for us. As we increasingly, and sometimes obliviously, adopt and interact with AI to assist in our daily lives, so too will the business world.

The CPA profession is no exception. Throughout late 2019, EY, KPMG, and PwC announced they would invest roughly $9 billion combined in AI, automation, and data analytics solutions to reshape their firms for the future—each firm is set to spend upwards of $1 billion annually developing technologies and their teams over the coming years. And while not every firm or company has billions or even millions to invest in new and smart tech, you can bet those who are looking to maintain or gain a competitive edge will be committing as much as they can to the solutions that promise success in their markets.

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Replies (2)

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By BenjaminJHSchwartz
Jul 11th 2021 23:47

Recently, a client of ours let us know about a pitch they received from a CPA firm that incorporates Artificial Intelligence in completing the Audit. The firm pitched that they would be the same price, but reduce the interaction / interruption of the Auditor with superior results.

Our client was an older individual and suggested that he liked the personability of working with a third party auditor who he could talk with. Despite the concrete rules of auditing, there are things that are not necessarily black and white, and I'm concerned that the technology will not be able to adapt to the grey area.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By BenjaminJHSchwartz
Jul 11th 2021 23:47

Recently, a client of ours let us know about a pitch they received from a CPA firm that incorporates Artificial Intelligence in completing the Audit. The firm pitched that they would be the same price, but reduce the interaction / interruption of the Auditor with superior results.

Our client was an older individual and suggested that he liked the personability of working with a third party auditor who he could talk with. Despite the concrete rules of auditing, there are things that are not necessarily black and white, and I'm concerned that the technology will not be able to adapt to the grey area.

Thanks (0)