Many of you who may be researching a future in accounting might be scared of the potential for computers and other automated systems to take over the accounting industry in the coming years. While the truth of the matter is that computers are involved more and more in the everyday life of an accountant, accountants will still play a critical role in the lives of individuals and companies for a long time to come.
A current trend in accounting systems is something called “zero-entry” accounting. Imagine a company which no longer requires the manual input of accounting data each month in order to understand their cash flow. This approach is highly prone to error and consumes critical time during which an accountant could be analyzing the results for the company thereby helping them make more money, rather than wasting it on just understanding where their business stands. In other words, accountants of the future will be responsible for making sure that the output from accounting systems is accurate and matches current accounting procedures, but most importantly, they will be trusted with advising the company on the best financial decisions to make, with more up-to-date data than ever before.
On an individual level, many people in the United States have a brush with accounting at least once a year when they file their tax returns to Federal and State governments. Here too “robotization” is ubiquitous with the proliferation of tax preparation software for individuals and small businesses. However, even the most sophisticated software can not fully understand one’s financial picture through a standard questionnaire. While guaranteed to be accepted by the government, there is no guarantee that they have saved you the most money. Only a qualified tax accountant will be familiar with all of the possible tax breaks and will take the time to fully understand your personal financial situation. And while even these accountants may in the end of the day use a computer or “robot” to file your returns, it is they, not the computers who have the final word.