What do AI and the Cloud mean for your business?

21 June 2018

This article was first published in Manchester Evening News on 10 October 2017.

We live in a world that is continuously being revolutionised by automation.  We can now stream TV shows as and when we want to watch them, make contactless payments for transactions via our mobile phones and ‘driverless’ cars are just around the corner.

This is set to become far more widespread as industries continue to adopt technology such as the cloud, and try to find ways to save time, money and effort.

For businesses, this kind of technology holds the key to the next level of efficiency and innovation, as artificial intelligence (AI) can now take away processing time from humans to perform tasks more quickly and to a more accurate standard.

In the world of accountancy, industry professionals are likely to see much more change when it comes to automation and AI over the course of the next five years than they have during the last 25, with the industry itself being in the midst of a technological revolution that is changing the nature of how it operates.

Through the introduction of increasingly sophisticated accounting software products, live bank feeds and invoice recognition technology processing time is down by 60% – a figure that is set to continue to increase.

But should we be scared of the impact automation and AI is set to have on our industry? Change can be scary, but this type of change should be welcomed as an opportunity.

Technology now has the ability to collect, categorise, process and submit information and therefore automation enables accountants to focus on business advisory work and to have more regular contact with clients – adding value with proactive advice rather than spending time on processing.

Furthermore, no matter how sophisticated or integrated software becomes, business owners will always require an accounting expert to help them properly understand their financial data.

If you’re a business looking to adopt AI, I’d suggest considering cloud accounting.  Moving your accounts from desktop software to cloud services such as Xero or QuickBooks Online, is a necessary first step to embracing automation. Doing so will set you on the right path toward automation, while also saving you money.

If you’d like to discuss your options when it comes to converting to the cloud and adopting AI please do not hesitate to contact me.

For more information about this topic please contact me or your usual UHY adviser.