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Why AI is an opportunity, not a threat

AI is opening new doors for CPAs in every sector. Why not make the most of it and learn how to use new technologies to your advantage?

Artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t have to be a threat to the profession. In fact, the potential AI brings makes it an important tool that supports the evolution of accounting, auditing and business at large.

The impacts of AI, automation and machine learning on CPA careers over the next decade are mostly beneficial, including the ability to increase efficiencies, generate better data insights and reduce repetitive work processes.

So how can you make the most of it?

Less routine, more innovation

One of the greatest gifts that AI can offer accountants is time. By reducing or eliminating many routine tasks, AI is leaving more mental bandwidth for you to dive into complex issues – from strategic analysis and interpretation to executing more streamlined business operations.

 Assistive digital technologies also enable you to drive value as a future-focused, innovative advisor. This was a hot topic at the latest World Congress of Accountants (WCOA): the opportunity to move away from compliance and toward the delivery of business insights that enhance profit, performance and productivity.

“AI is clever, but it won’t replace human oversight or verification,” says Alan Fitzgerald, a WCOA panelist and tech consultant.

Risk and reward

Some organizations may find it difficult to fully comprehend what AI is in a practical, tangible way. You can help them tap into AI benefits by selecting and demonstrating tech solutions that empower CPAs, and by extension, their business: whether it’s adopting cloud software that saves money, fine-tuning audit criteria with integrated machine learning, using BI models to inform strategic planning, or implementing ERP platforms that boost revenue and diversify your company’s market.

Plus, there’s an added bonus profession-wide: the uptick in meaningful work and the demand for highly strategic and specialized advisory roles tends to boost recruitment and retention efforts.

The key takeaway is that AI opportunities lie in how you harness tech for competitive advantage.

A human touch

Ultimately, the top AI technologies influencing business and accounting today are not replacing human abilities; they are creating a complementary set of value-added resources you can leverage to more effectively understand patterns, information and projects for your clients or organization.

“The fundamental wisdom and insight and good advice and counsel that accountants bring to clients will be indispensable in the future,” says Anton Colella, global CEO of Moore Stephens International. “The challenge is how we adapt.”

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Learn more about how digital disruption, AI tools and other trends across the tech landscape will impact business at the upcoming National Technology Forum in Toronto from May 22-23, 2019.