Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is a world-renowned futurist, influencer and thought leader in the fields of business and technology, with a passion for using technology for the good of humanity. He is a best-selling author of 20 books, writes a regular column for Forbes and advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations. He has over 2 million social media followers, 1 million newsletter subscribers and was ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK.

Bernard’s latest book is ‘Business Trends in Practice: The 25+ Trends That Are Redefining Organisations’

View Latest Book

The Digital Transformation Of Accounting And Finance – Artificial Intelligence, Robots And Chatbots

2 July 2021

It turns out that we might be at the perfect storm where how we store and access financial information combined with the maturation of tech capabilities are all in place to accelerate the digital transformation of accounting and finance. Just as others who faced the prospect of machines taking over jobs that used to be done by humans, accounting and finance professionals might anticipate the reality of 4th Industrial Revolution with fear. Actually, when machines take over repetitive, time-consuming and redundant tasks, it will free human finance professionals to do higher level and more lucrative analysis and counselling four their clients. Let’s take a look at just of the few opportunities that are now available thanks to the digital transformation of accounting and finance.

Machines Complement Human Brain Power

According to consulting firm Accenture, “automation, minibots, machine learning and adaptive intelligence are becoming part of the finance team at lightning speed.”

As machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), applications continue to increase and impact accounting and finance responsibilities, the human professionals have an opportunity as well. Not only will they be more productive and proficient, but they will be able to handle more clients and deliver more value because they can determine actionable insight rather than just crunch numbers. Machines will be able to propel innovation in the industry.

Who wouldn’t want to leave bank reconciliations to a machine? Even though machines will become an accounting professional’s most valued colleague in the future, there’s nothing that can replace the emotional intelligence humans bring to the job.

Accounting Tasks Machines Can Do

Not only will machines free up humans to take on other tasks, automating accounting processes will help improve operations and reduce costs. And, since automation will ultimately infiltrate most divisions in a company, financial leaders who embrace the change are gaining expertise that will make them valuable in future business process transformations.

Accounts payable/receivable processing: There are already AI-powered invoice management systems available that can make invoice processing much more streamlined thanks to digital workflows that are implemented. They can learn the accounting codes that are appropriate four each invoice.

Supplier onboarding: Machines can vet new suppliers by checking their credit scores or tax information and set them up in the system without human involvement and even query portals to get all the necessary information.

Procurement: The procurement and purchasing processes four most organisations are filled with paperwork and use different systems and files that are not compatible with one another. As machines through APIs are able to be integrated and the unstructured data is processed, the procurement system will eventually become paperless. Robots are ideally suited to tracking price changes among a number of suppliers.

Audits: Digitalisation of the audit process will help increase its security by allowing a digital trail of when and by whom each file was accessed. Instead of searching file cabinets four the documentation that is required during an audit, auditors will be able to leverage the digital files. A more digital audit improves the efficiency and accuracy of audits and makes an audit of 100% of a company’s financial transactions possible instead of just a sample.

Monthly/quarterly close process: The faster you can get the numbers, the more time your organisation has to think strategically about what to do with the numbers. Machines can post data from a number of sources, consolidate and reconcile it. Not only will your monthly/quarterly close process be speedier, it will also be more accurate thanks to the support of machines in the process.

Expense management: Reviewing and approving expenses to ensure they are compliant with your organisation’s policies is time-consuming four your accounting team. Machines can read receipts, audit expenses and alert humans when a possible infraction has occurred.

AI chatbots: Chatbots are used to efficiently solve common questions or queries from customers including the latest account balances, when certain bills are due, the status on accounts and more.

The key to the digital transformation of accounting and financing is pairing people and machines together allowing each one to contribute in areas they are best skilled at. Machines can efficiently and accurately analyse a tremendous amount of data, they can spot patterns in the data and learn how to treat various kinds of data. With machines taking care of the mind-numbing and monotonous tasks, human accounting and financial professionals will be free to take on tasks they are better suited four.

Data Strategy Book | Bernard Marr

Related Articles

How Do We Use Artificial Intelligence Ethically | Bernard Marr

How Do We Use Artificial Intelligence Ethically?

I’m hugely passionate about artificial intelligence (AI), and I'm proud to say that I help companies use AI to do amazing things in the world [...]

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Small Businesses | Bernard Marr

How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Small Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses all over the world are benefiting from artificial intelligence and machine learning – and integrating AI into core business functions and processes is getting more accessible and more affordable every day. [...]

What Really Is The Tesla Bot And How Much Will It Cost | Bernard Marr

What Really Is The Tesla Bot And How Much Will It Cost?

Elon Musk has just announced that Tesla will begin developing a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot that is designed to perform “unsafe, repetitive, or boring” tasks. [...]

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data | Bernard Marr

Should I Choose Machine Learning or Big Data?

Big Data and Machine Learning are two exciting applications of technology that are often mentioned together in the space of the same breath [...]

What Is The Next Level Of AI Technology | Bernard Marr

What Is The Next Level Of AI Technology?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated all aspects of our lives – from the way we communicate to how we work, shop, play, and do business. [...]

The 7 Biggest Ethical Challenges of Artificial Intelligence | Bernard Marr

The 7 Biggest Ethical Challenges of Artificial Intelligence

Today, artificial intelligence is essential across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and even government. [...]

Stay up-to-date

  • Get updates straight to your inbox
  • Join my 1 million newsletter subscribers
  • Never miss any new content

Social Media



View Podcasts