The Power of AI for Accounting
Today I would like to discuss the article, “Five Ways Accountants Have Mastered AI.” I highly recommend you read this article, if you haven’t already, because it looks at a new way of thinking about AI and applies it to our world. The goal of AI is to let machines perform the time-consuming tasks, freeing up time for accountants to do the serious thinking and to exercise professional judgment on more complex matters.
The article identifies key accounting tasks that are likely to be affected, including:
AI can analyze thousands of pages of contract documents and quickly summarize them into useful criteria. It can check and crossfoot debit and credit entries allowing analysis of larger populations of data than traditional sampling, thus freeing up valuable auditor time to focus on areas requiring significant judgment and expertise.
The domain of risk management is well-suited to AI because fraudulent cases can be missed amid mountains of structured data or anomalous events.
Regulatory Compliance and Reporting
Accounting firms seem set to follow the compliance lead of the big banks, which are using AI technology to navigate an ever-changing regulatory landscape. Within accounting firms, AI will be able to monitor compliance with regulations as well as organizational policies.
AI and machine learning will allow organizations to take large and complex data sets and make high-quality predictions from the data, potentially giving clients an edge in their field of business.
Takeaways to think about:
- Which areas listed above (auditing, risk management, regulatory compliance and reporting, and trend analytics) would you want to focus on first?
- Which anomalous events do you not have the human bandwidth to investigate today?
My final post in this blog series will be featured next week and will discuss six practical steps for the data-driven CFO to take. Stay tuned!
Note: This is part five of a six-part series for CFOs who are thinking about how they can optimize their business by being more data driven. Here is the full series of blog posts:
• Part 1, introduction: Reading for the Data-Driven CFO
• Part 2, big data and the general ledger: “GLplus” – Making Your General Ledger the Center of Gravity for Your Data Strategy
• Part 3, dashboards and analytics: Twitterize Your Chart of Accounts
• Part 4, invisible AI: Invisible AI: A Glance at Your iPhone and Its iBrain
• Part 5, AI and accounting: The Power of AI for Accounting
• Part 6, strategy and conclusion: The 2017 Journey for the Data-Driven CFO
Ian Howells is the Chief Marketing Officer at Sage Intacct, and has more than twenty years of marketing experience at startups and major software companies. As Sage Intacct’s CMO, Ian oversees the company's demand generation, product marketing, partner marketing, and marketing communications strategy. Ian previously served as the company’s VP of Market Development managing the company’s vertical market strategy. Before joining Sage Intacct, Ian led marketing at Argyle Data transitioning the company to a leading machine learning Hadoop application vendor, used by the world’s largest mobile carriers to perform fraud and revenue threat analytics. Before that, Ian led marketing at StorSimple prior to their acquisition by Microsoft and SeeBeyond prior to their acquisition by Sun. Ian also worked in market development at Documentum, where he led their entry into financial services which became the company's largest vertical. Ian has a Ph.D. in distributed database systems and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computing and Statistics from Cardiff University.