Will accounting become automated?
Some articles that I've read claim that accounting will become automated in 20 years. I've also read that automation will merely decrease the need for accountants and/or make their workload easier. I don't want to enter a career in an obsolete profession.
It’s not just routine tasks that are being automated – new accounting software is also capable of performing more complex analyses. For example, predictive analytics can be used to forecast cash flow and identify potential areas of financial risk. I work in AI, and I think there will still be a lot of accountants but their job will look very different than it does today.
I think this a great question. If I am to believe that your fears are right and you are entering a field which will become obsolete in 20 years then I would rush into this field. Simply because 20 years is a long enough period for me to become a subject matter expert in accounting and command whatever money I want to oversee or consult companies on accounting automation. I wish someone had told me 20 years back the technology that will be prevalent today and I would have worked the last 20 years to become an expert in it. So don't fear automation, embrace it. You have a long journey ahead of you and a golden opportunity to lead the automation revolution of accounting. Become familiar with processes which are mundane and repetitive (which can be automated easily) and then try to automate them on your own. All these experiences will add up over time and you will be in demand everywhere when automation catches up. This revolution will need far more smart accountants than smart engineers and you can be one of them.
My personal belief is that accounting has a lot of areas where subjectivity is involved and those processes are really complex for any sort of AI to perform. Also, automation may work for smaller or newer companies who will buy the new systems and implement from the beginning but for older companies or the ones having operations across the globe, automation will take a lot of effort and time. Lastly, accounting is not a huge cost for any large company so their inclination towards spending capital expenditure to automate it may not be there as the penalty of inaccurate accounting is exhorbitantly high.
So all in all, I believe you are in a great spot and will do fine regardless of automation taking over accounting. You can shape your career depending on the trends you see and the question you asked shows us that you are a critical thinker, so all the best!
It depends, it depends on what you try to do with accounting, are you trying to balance the sheet, like create some entries, or you are on a more creative side where you want to decide whether to treat something as income receivable/inventory/research& development for tax/reporting purpose. If the former, yes, I have personally work on two projects in the past to automate the accounting process and we are able to have the machine did what an accounting will spend days doing in 3 minutes. The later part is much more tricky and is the real essence of accounting, so I would say part of accounting will be replaced in short time, while the more advanced part of it is less likely