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AICPA Engage: How machine learning is bringing balance to accounting

Posted 2 months ago in Advisors by Sarah Richards
Posted by Sarah Richards

In the accounting industry, there has been talk for many years about cloud technology and how it will influence the direction of the profession. Today, we’re seeing cloud adoption rates soaring, with almost half of Xero’s US accounting partners reporting that 80% or more of their clients are on an online accounting platform.

At a fireside chat at AICPA Engage 2017 in Las Vegas, Xero’s Chief Relationship Officer, Partner Channel, Americas, Amy Vetter, and Xero Ambassador, Jay Kimelman, shared how the accounting profession has evolved with technology and what it will look like in the future.

Gearing up for cloud growth

As Chief Accounting and Technology Officer of the digital CPA, Jay has fully embraced the cloud strategy. Due to the scalable nature of the firm’s technological infrastructure, the digital CPA’s revenue shows no sign of slowing down.

“It’s freed me up to do more and enabled me to work at a higher level. It’s also allowed me the freedom to work from wherever I am,” Jay explains. “I haven’t been in my office for two weeks because I’ve been traveling, yet I haven’t missed a beat. The cloud enables me to do that and Xero specifically enables me to do that.”

Posted by Xero on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in accounting platforms, accountancy is about to see yet another transformation before the vast majority have implemented cloud technology in their practices.

Amy says this new wave of the industry, where the accounting platform is able to do things like learn where clients make mistakes in the system and help prevent them, will require retooling on the accountant’s part. With the emphasis shifting to advisory services, accountants will need to learn the soft skills in order to be able to deliver them.

“I think the thing that people struggle with is how to have the conversation,” Amy explains. “It’s a skill of its own. Knowing what questions to ask, what to look for in the financials. It’s not just about the data input. The client’s financial information is there in the software but they still don’t know what it means.”

Amy, a yoga instructor and studio owner, concluded the session by leading a guided meditation; emphasizing the potential for accountants to use technology to free up time and be more present at work and home.

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