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May 19, 2017
Digitalization and robotics in accounting: Threat or opportunity?
By: Gary Cokins

One force that is creating interest in leveraging automation is increased productivity to reduce labor expenses. Reducing fraud and lawsuits by adequately detecting fraud is another concern. As an example, a leading auditing firm was ordered by a judicial court to pay millions of dollars in damages for failing to detect fraud by one of its clients, despite substantial warning signs in previous years. Improved audit quality is one opportunity to apply automation.

In addition, in the past, small businesses rarely sold their products internationally. Today, with globalization, businesses might sell to dozens of countries. This introduces complexity for businesses, including dealing with international trade and tax laws, government regulations and compliance tasks. This implies that accountants will need support from technology to access and provide the complex trade data to facilitate their accounting work.

Examples of functions of accounting that will be impacted by robotic software include transactional processes such as customer invoicing, general ledger consolidations and period-end closes, auditing, and outsourced accounting processes.

Many underestimate the fast speed at which the effects from digitization will occur, as well as their severity. It is important that accountants not view the effects from automation as a doomsday scenario for them, but rather to view the impacts as opportunities to perform more fulfilling work with a higher value-adding contribution to their organization.

Do you know how robotic software will affect accountants in your organization? How can accountants react to the impending changes to their work and jobs? The Accenture Academy courses The Digital Revolution in Accounting, Effects of the Digital Revolution on Accounting Functions and PracticesMitigating Risk Due to Digitalization and Automation in Accounting, and Communicating the Effect of the Digital Revolution on Accounting will provide you with the awareness and knowledge needed to deal with issues of job displacement of accountants caused by machine learning and software robotics.

About Accenture Academy

Accenture Academy offers proven, cost-effective learning solutions for a more versatile workforce and a more agile organization. We provide a flexible learning approach that helps your people be more versatile and your entire organization be more agile in the marketplace. Curriculum includes Supply Chain Management, Finance, Procurement, Analytics, Leadership & Management and Specialty Skills.

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