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Can AI Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence has found its way into our lives in more ways than we think– into our homes with Amazon Alexa, our phones with Siri, and even into our jobs. Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies have been credited with taking millions of jobs around the globe. Customer service representatives have been traded for automated voice messages. Farmers are replaced by autonomous machines. Retail workers are left unemployed when stores become completely online. By the year 2030, 800 million jobs are expected to be replaced by artificial intelligence and other software. The business world is then left with a question: will Artificial Intelligence ever replace accountants?

As AI technology is becoming more popular, accountants are becoming increasingly worried that companies will not see the value in hiring an accountant any longer. With further inspection, it is essential to understand what makes a CPA more valuable than just AI. Why still hire a CPA with this technology available?

For a business to operate at the highest level, even with the use of Artificial Intelligence, an accountant would still be needed to analyze the data provided by the machines. While certain jobs can be completely replaced by AI, accounting cannot be. Here are three things accountants do for their clients that AI cannot.

  1. Personal Consulting. Artificial Intelligence is made to replicate human learning as it repeats tasks over and over. However, robots will never be able to articulate or replace the strategic advice your accountant gives you from reviewing your books and knowing your business environment. Artificial Intelligence is not able to extract insight from your financials to help you determine the next step for your business, it can only measure data points for a numerical result.
  2. Finding Incomplete Data. Machines also have limits that they aren’t able to catch themselves. Machine learning processes and algorithms that are used in AI are only as useful as the data that is entered. If the data that the software is using is incomplete, biased, or incorrect, the results from the automated software will also be incorrect. This would become a serious problem in the accounting field in areas such as financial statements, payroll, and taxes because no machine is worth losing money
  3. Conforming to Legalities. Artificial Intelligence relies on data-extraction to draw conclusions and find results. Therefore, the AI machines such as Siri on your phone can answer simple questions when asked to. However, though the technology is impressive, the machines do not have the ability to draw conclusions based on previous clues and inferences. This will make it difficult or impossible to perform a perfect audit or conform to new and changing tax laws for returns.

Using a CPA for your business and individual financial needs ensures that both accounting practice and theory are in play. While machines can help with the job, there is nothing that can replace the relationship with a certified accountant. SME CPAs employs a team-based approach for the highest accuracy and accountability in giving you the right results. Your tax returns, payroll orders, and other sheets of data are reviewed from team-member to team-member to make sure you are getting the best results possible. We aim to give you an experience that no machine can match or replace.

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