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AICPA Engage: Riding the next wave of accounting

Posted 11 months ago in Advisors by Sarah Richards
Posted by Sarah Richards

We are at a time of unstoppable change in accountancy, where technology is moving faster than ever before. Cloud accounting platforms are now consolidating on a powerful set of technologies, unlocking the potential of their vast connections and unique datasets to drive machine learning.

Amy Vetter at AICPA Engage

Speaking at AICPA Engage in Las Vegas today, Xero’s Chief Relationship Officer, Partner Channel, Americas, Amy Vetter, explained that we’re at the forefront of the next wave of the industry. Which means accounting professionals need to undertake a transformative journey.

At AICPA Engage, Amy reflected on the way data used to come in through accounting systems, manually. As an accountant, you would have to go back and reconcile that data and make sure it was correct. Clients don’t often understand that accountants go back and audit that data because otherwise it is hard to trust.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning systems within cloud accounting platforms like Xero are improving traditional services. As a result, compliance processes are streamlined and new business opportunities are created. Many of which will either be no-touch or limited-touch in the future.

Small businesses struggle to code their accounting, and accountants have to spend a lot of time trying to undo mistakes in the system. At Xero, we started looking at how to fix this problem and found that there were more than 10,000,000 unique account code names sitting in the back of Xero.

We developed a machine learning system that learns from the coding errors an accountant corrects in the system and the next time a client codes an invoice, Xero makes a suggestion to prevent them from making the same mistake.

Amy explained that it’s part of the process when we’re developing product features and enhancements at Xero, we are always asking how we can speed up underlying processes.

Moving to the next phase of accounting

In order for accounting professionals to continue to be successful in the next phase of the profession, Amy says it’s important to take the time to learn the soft skills, not just the technology. By moving from compliance to advisory services, building the operational side of the analysis, you can change the offerings you’re able to provide to a client.

Machine learning and automation will enable accountants to get their heads out of the general ledger. This frees up accountants so they can get back to advising clients on what they need for their business to succeed.

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