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Accounting automation won’t steal my job say finance workers

Technology like accounting automation is set to replace accountants and finance workers in the future by taking over much of the work they do. So we are told again and again anyway.

But the majority of UK finance workers have rejected this idea that technology like automation and artificial intelligence will “steal their jobs”, with just 11% of the 1,000 accounting and finance workers who took part in our recent survey saying they harboured this concern.


In fact, far from the fearing the “rise of the machine”, most accountants and finance workers are waiting to welcome technology like accounting automation with open arms, saying they expect the technology to remove the repetitive and boring parts of their day-to-day life and make their roles more rewarding.


Benefits outweigh concerns for accounting tech


This is not to say that there is no concern about the future role accounting automation and such technology has in the workplace. But the perceived benefits of the platforms far outweigh any concerns teams have.


For instance, 26% of those who took part in our Understanding technology attitudes within UK finance professionals report admitted to having some concerns about how technology would impact their day-to-day jobs, but said the opportunities they expected it to provide were far more front of mind.


Others purely see platforms like accounting automation as a means of making their jobs more interesting and a means of freeing them up to take on more rewarding and beneficial work for their company.


Almost a third (30%), for example see the arrival of new technology as an opportunity to develop in their role and develop more value creating skills like strategy, financial planning and advisory skills. 


Nearly three quarters (74%) said it was important to them that their company introduced better technology if it could remove the repetitive parts of their job and leave them feeling more fulfilled in what they do.


Cloud and accounting automation already making an impact


Another point raised in our report which you can download and view in full here is that accountants and finance teams are already making good use of the technology available to them – particularly when it comes to cloud accounting technology.


38% of current fee earning engagement (tax returns, audits, filing accounts etc) are already being processed via cloud-based accounting systems according to our research as more accountants ditch manual, paper-based processes.


Those using this kind of technology are also demonstrating how it is making their jobs easier. More than half (56%) of accountants using cloud accounting technology said it made it easier for them to collect data from clients for reports.


The vast majority (85%) also said cloud technology has made it easier for them to securely share sensitive documents with colleagues in the same office, while 65% said cloud has made them more productive and efficient when sharing data with colleagues working remotely.


A bright future ahead for automated accounting technology


While there is never any shortage of headlines when it comes to the threat from automation and AI, the fact that accountants and finance teams are more welcoming of technology than is often reported will be greatly received by firms and organisations.


With a report from Gartner predicting accounting automation could take over 20% of repetitive “non-value added” tasks in the next year, accountants are on the verge of seeing their jobs become the more varied roles they are looking for.


Ultimately what our research has found is that accountants view technology as an enabler for them to remove the mundane, repetitive tasks that they have to deal with (like data entry) and replace them with more strategic, consultative and well-rounded skills.


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