What is Digital Transformation in Accounting

Finance and accounting professionals need to adequately prepare for this transition to the digital world. They can start by understanding how emerging technologies are affecting the business models of organisations. This includes investigating and implementing solutions, consulting with digital transformation specialists if guidance is required.

Embracing Digital Transformation can enable a company to be more efficient, leaner and better equipped to manage change. Machines, however, are not able to replicate leadership, creativity, decision-making and judgement skills. Therefore, finance and accounting professionals need to develop these competencies as well as other ‘soft skills’ that are important in the digital age.

Continuous learning and a growth mindset will become a key characteristic of the modern knowledge worker, regardless of their profession. For the finance and accounting professional, this means becoming accustomed to new and emerging technologies and continue to expand on the digital transformation knowledge base.

Robotic Process
Automation (RPA)

RPA is a powerful tool that is used to increase the efficiency of a business process, especially the repetitive, time-consuming, error-prone and boring tasks. A well implemented robot can perform tasks in a fraction of the time (compared to a human) with no errors, in addition to not forcing the person to perform these tedious tasks. Employees can thus focus their efforts on higher-value tasks. Industries that are currently enjoying the benefits of RPA include Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, Insurance, Banking manufacturing and many more.

Artificial
Intelligence (AI)

AI has become all the more prevalent, especially in the business sector. AI is primarily used for the automation and augmentation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks performed by humans. These simple tasks include language processing, data analytics and visual perceptions/feedback. One of the very attractive AI solutions in the accounting space is the use of a ChatBot. Users can simply ask relative questions about vendors, budgets and forecasts. Making it easier when compared having to go over statements in order to this manually.

Artificial Intelligence can also be used to build custom reports tailored to each client’s needs. This is a simple, but time-consuming task that can be automated via AI. This helps free employees up to focus on more high value tasks and let AI take care of the rest. With this extra time, employees can focus on client relations and onboarding more clients since they are not bottlenecked with the amount of work in front of them anymore. A common misconception is that AI will remove the need for human intervention. This is true in some cases, but the combination of human and AI is very powerful. With humans focusing on client morale and relations, and AI focusing on the repetitive and time-consuming tasks, the possibilities are endless.

Machine
Learning

Machine Learning has many roots in the accounting sector with many more opportunities to expand its capabilities. Uses include the constant auditing of expense submissions, removing the need for constant and manual documentation, risk assessments and data analytics. These days, most accounting information and data is digital, making it easier to implement Machine Learning on these datasets. The most important advantage to be gained from this implementation is not the cost-saving aspect, but the timesaving it produces. Employees no longer need to do tasks such as categorizing invoices, clearing invoice payments and bank reconciliation. This gives them more time to focus on the anomalies in processes that require intervention and be busy with more important tasks.

As a final statement, Machine Learning not only focuses on working with current data, but it also excels at predictions of future data. An example of this is the forecasting of financial statements. Machine Learning will not only make the current process execute much more efficiently, but it will also make the future a lot clearer. Reducing the amount of time spent on certain tasks, while increasing employee morale and productivity.

Modern
Workplace

The modern workplace is constantly evolving, with mobile workforces, complex security landscapes and brand-new business models. This is made possible with modern technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Process Automation, cloud computing and so much more.The modern workplace does not only refer to the use on modern technologies, however. Organizations like the World Economic Forum put great emphasis on the importance of upskilling and reskilling the company’s workforce as more of their time is saved by algorithms. Also, creating platforms for and encouraging open communication between employees; amongst many others. The incorporation modern technologies and mindset ensures that a company does not get left behind in the fourth industrial evolution.

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