Why Artificial Intelligence Is The Future Of Accounting: Study

Jean Baptiste Su , CONTRIBUTORVice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

After decades stuck in research labs, artificial intelligence (AI) is ready for prime-time, transforming if not disrupting all the sectors of the economy that generate lots of data (big data), from tech to finance, communications, energy, healthcare, mobility or manufacturing.

More than most other industries, accounting hasn’t seen much innovation since the creation of double-entry bookkeeping - a process of recording both profits and losses - and considered one of the greatest advances in the history of business and commerce.

That was over 500 years ago!

However, the good news is that applying AI and machine learning technologies to bookkeeping, is becoming a reality with most of the major accounting software vendors (IntuitOneUpSage, and Xero) currently offering capabilities to automate data entry, reconciliations and sometimes more.

In our upcoming research report on the future of accounting, we expect that by 2020, accounting tasks - but also tax, payroll, audits, banking… - will be fully automated using AI-based technologies, which will disrupt the accounting industry in a way it never was for the last 500 years, bringing both huge opportunities and serious challenges.

Artificial intelligence will not eliminate accountants

“Having machines to do all these tedious and repetitive tasks could sound scary for many accountants because they are also very time-consuming and thus very lucrative,” explained Stephanie Weil, CEO of Accounteam, a Silicon Valley-based accounting firm. “However, if the AI system is well configured, it can eliminate accounting errors that are generally hard to find and thereby reduce our liability and allows us to move to a more advisory role.”

In an upcoming research study, we also tested the automation capabilities of 4 of the most popular AI-powered cloud-accounting solutions available in the market today (OneUp, QuickBooks Online, SageOne, and Xero) and rank them against our Automation Index which evaluates how accurate is the AI in recognizing transactions coming in from the bank that didn't require any user intervention in order to generate the correct accounting.

OneUp proved to be the most effective with an Automation Index rate of 95% after 5 months of use, followed by QuickBooks Online (77%), Xero (38%) and SageOne (30%).

Despite being very promising, the accuracy of the machine learning algorithms used in most of today's solutions still needs to significantly improve in efficiency to avoid accounting errors and really fulfill their promise of automation.

Author: Jean Baptiste is a Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, a global technology intelligence firm helping clients deliver successful go-to-market strategies.

QuickBooks update: December 2015

Here’s our last QuickBooks Online update of the year. Thanks, as always, for your feedback and Happy Holidays! 

Register1 improvements

  • Show/hide the  attachments2 column in the register. Home page > Registers >  table gear > Attachments.
  • Add attachments in the register. Once you turn on the attachments column (see above), click a transaction and then click  Add Attachment.

Bank feed improvements

  • Edit the check number field in bank feeds. Left nav > Transactions > Banking >  table gear > Check no. Then when you click a transaction, you can change the  check number.

Inventory tracking3 improvements

  • Easily see the quantity available as you’re entering sales forms. For example, let’s say you’re creating an invoice; go to Create (+) Invoice. When you enter an inventory item in the Product/Service field and then tab to or click the  Qty field, a tooltip appears with the quantity available, for example “Available: 2” or “Out of stock.”

Notes

  1. In case you missed it, learn how to use the new registers.
  2. In case you missed it, here’s more about attachments.
  3. Inventory tracking is available in QuickBooks Online Plus only, and requires this setting turned on: Gear > Company Settings > Sales > Products and services > Track quantity on hand.
  4. In case you missed it, here are two QuickBooks Labs experiments to check out: improved reports and vendor list split view.
  5. To try updates using sample data, check out the QuickBooks Online test drive.
  6. Missed any recent QuickBooks Online updates? See our updates archive.

Report an issue or suggestion

Leave feedback by clicking the Gear icon in QuickBooks, and then click Feedback. This is the official way to get your ideas recorded and worked on! Learn more

Get technical support

While we would love to answer all your questions, the blog isn’t managed by customer care staff (only a lone blogger). Your fastest options to get technical support are listed on our Links page, under “Get help and give feedback.”

Can't wait to share this article? Click a button below!

Happy New Year

Dear Clients,
I wish you a Happy New Year 2015 and all the success in your endeavor !
The year of 2014 was an amazing year for accounteam; I started a business from scratch, I build an amazing strong team, and most importantly I met awesome people that became our clients. :)
2014 in numbers:  we served over 40 clients with some, holding multiple companies, we are now 7 people in our team, who cover ALL the area of accounting. We received the accreditation from the better business bureau. I also wanted to give back to the community, so we started a month ago to work Pro Bono for a local non-profit teaching kids how to code. (www.codeforfun.com)
My goal, for you, was not only to provide outstanding work but also an incredible customer service. Our goal, for 2015, is not only to reinforce those values, (that I cherish), but to improve the streamline of our work, increasing efficiency, reducing time, and ease life of our clients…. 
You are all part of our success today, I thank you very much for giving me your trust, and your referrals.
I am looking forward helping you in 2015!
Warm wishes,


Stephanie Boireau