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UK accountants have their say on AI

Artificial intelligence is changing the nature of work around the world and the accounting industry is not immune.

UK accountants have their say on AI
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • January 14, 2020
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A new report released by Caseware, Understanding Technology Attitudes within UK Finance Professionals, details the way accountants in the UK are coming to terms with the growing presence of technology.

According to the findings, 34 per cent of the 1,000 surveyed accountants think AI will have the most impact on their working life over the next five years, followed by cloud computing (31 per cent) and mobile accounting (28 per cent).

“Technology is affecting finance professionals – both within corporate finance departments and accountancy practices of every size,” the report reads.

“From cloud computing to mobile accounting, artificial intelligence to blockchain, technology is having a fundamental impact not only on day-to-day activity but client relationships and revenue streams.

“Questions still arise, however, not only regarding the speed of technology led change, but also surrounding the attitudes of finance professionals. Are individuals embracing the automation and ease of information sharing enabled by cloud computing? Is there a fear of AI inspired job loss or delight at the opportunity to move away from manual tasks and embrace client facing activity?”

The report also suggested that while finance professionals have a strong grasp of the changes ahead, there are gaps in technology knowledge and the practical implementations of these technologies to change day-to-day working life.

While mobile accounting (49 per cent) and cloud computing are the most understood technologies by finance professionals, intelligent processing automation (38 per cent), RPA (38 per cent) and blockchain (37 per cent) are the least understood out of the options given in the survey.  

In fact, despite the huge media attention garnered by blockchain in recent months, just 7 per cent expect it to have an impact on working lives over the next five years.

Caseware pointed out that despite the uncertainty as to how new technologies such as AI will be deployed, individuals are far from fearing change.

Asked how they would respond to the news that the business was implementing intelligent processing or automation, almost a third (30 per cent) would welcome the opportunity to learn new skills, while a further 26 per cent confirmed some concern regarding job security.

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