Will Technology be taking over your job as Chartered Accountant?
As children, we have read all sorts of fiction on machines coming to life and trying to replace us and watched so many Sci-Fi films about artificial intelligence. But it is time we finally address the question, as scary as it is: Will technology be taking us over some day?
Accountants and AI: A Technological Nightmare?
Thinking about this future, artists and creative minds might breathe a sigh of relief. The creative arts require much more of a human touch. This might mean their jobs are safe (for now…). But what about the individuals in more ‘black and white’ fields? What about the employees who work with data sets, number-heavy spreadsheets all day? What about the accountants?
This is more of a scary thought, and perhaps more of an urgent reality for accountants and auditors than for other fields. Computers are known to function on an algorithm and to process objective coded sets which include numbers better than more subjective tasks. For example, a computer might be able to run a quadratic formula better than write a perfectly structured, grammatically sound and emotional piece on its love for dolphins.
Hint: Computers don't have emotions!
So When Will AI Take Over?!
AI is being invested in by massive IT companies and conglomerates around the globe. But don't fret, there is still time until AI becomes a common reality. In Pakistan, there is a clear technology lag- most latest technology in leading developed nations reach Pakistan even over a decade after.
These technologies also require a lot of data, and are expensive to buy and employ in corporations. Still, there are some professions that will be affected first, and more strongly than others.
What will REALLY happen then?
Well, it is not to say because of the reasons mentioned above, accountants and auditor’s jobs are completely at a lack of risk. Perhaps at a staff level, book-keeping and mundane data entry and tracking will be taken over by smarter technologies with a lower risk of human error and faster computed, more productive work. But it does not mean that auditors and accountants will be entirely jobless. In fact, this change might give space to create newer jobs in terms of more optimized production. These newer forms of employment for accountants would explore job opportunities looking at data visualization and analytics. These are more advanced roles that AI and technology might not be able to produce as easily.
What's The Catch, Though?
Well, it is important to note that the creation of these ‘newer’ jobs might not entirely match the loss of the ‘traditional’ ones. Also, the employees who were trained at a staff level for the professions that will require higher skills might simply not be qualified enough to work at these jobs, leaving them jobless.
What Should We Expect then, Realistically?
The fact that Pakistan is less likely to get affected by these changes for now could provide some temporary consolation to all the Chartered Accountants. The best that can be done for now is to take these changes in stride and be aware of the advancements that are happening around us and prepare for them in advance by upskilling ourselves and making sure our futures are secure.