It is almost difficult to remember back to 2001 when Steven Spielberg’s film A.I. was released. The future depicted in the film seemed difficult to imagine happening during our lifetime but here we are today with AI and machine learning an integral part of most industries including accounting. AI even pervades our daily lives and runs our smart homes. The time has come when AI, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, machine reasoning and natural language processing are having a huge impact on accounting.
Exactly what is AI? AI is the technology that enables machines or bots to “learn” from experience, make adjustments, interpret information and apply what they learn to perform human tasks. There are several different “components” of AI.
Machine learning provides computers with the ability to recognize patterns in huge data sets and apply them to create algorithms. These algorithms are then adjusted or fine-tuned based on feedback so that the machines get “smarter” and more accurate in their interpretation and understanding of the data.
Machine reasoning helps machines “understand” information and actually “think” or identify implications of a data set and analyze it.
Deep learning is the technology that allows computers to develop the ability to identify relationships and associations.
Natural language processing is the computers ability to understand and use human speech.
Computer vision is another technology that enables computers to recognize and view people, activities and objects.
How Accounting Software Uses AI
Accountants are faced with sifting and analyzing enormous sets of data in order to carry out their jobs. AI is added to software to automate this process. With machine learning, AI and machine reasoning software makes it possible to digest and analyze huge volumes of data at super-fast speeds, recognize and extract key terms, interpret contracts and deeds, track projects and provide in-depth analysis and reporting. It can help to ensure compliance in an increasingly complicated, regulated business environment. Because it relies heavily on pattern identification it also identifies and flags potential problem accounts even when there are disparate systems.
Typical tasks AI-based software can help with include:
- Validating data and identifying outliers
- Reconciling systems
- Data and account categorization
- Business Insights
AI based software can also adapt to an accountant’s behavioral patterns and they learn to make better decisions based on human feedback and inputs.
AI is delivering greater efficiencies because it can take over the most tedious tasks including data entry and reconciliation and do them with incredible speed and accuracy. It is also eliminating errors and reducing liability.
Ai is changing the industry by freeing accountants to focus on those activities such as process improvement, cost controls and capital optimization so that they can act in advisory roles and provide deeper strategic insights to enable better and faster decision-making necessary in a quickly changing business environment.
AI and cloud computing work together to compute enormous amounts of data within very short time frames. This enables companies to streamline their operations and create greater efficiencies by saving time, cutting costs, increasing productivity and providing greater accuracy.