AI: The Keystone of Digital Transformation and the Future of Work for Accounting Firms

September 02, 2021

I recently had the privilege of presenting AI as the cornerstone of digital transformation to the College of Certified Public Accountants, Puerto Rico.

The accounting and finance industries have changed drastically in the past few years, and are embracing digital transformation, most notably AI, like never before.  Today, public accountants are using AI to handle repetitive tasks, such as reporting and data entry, transaction processing, reconciling accounts, and managing expense reports, just to name a few. By automating administrative tasks, accountants can focus their time on more strategic tasks, analyzing the data-driven results of AI to better serve customers and gain an edge in a competitive climate. 

Despite the benefits of digital transformation, it can be a confusing and scary journey since it often disrupts age-old ways of doing things. While this is true, it’s a journey that successful accounting firms will need to take. As I said in my presentation, true digital transformation provides three key benefits:

  • It improves the customer experience
  • It generates new revenue from digital products and services 
  • It reinvents business models for the better

One of the fastest paths to digital transformation is through the implementation of AI – whether through a chatbot that answers customer questions, a machine learning solution that automates manual tasks, or predictive analytics that help to anticipate future customer behaviors. AI’s promise of speed, ease and cost optimization, while simplifying complex processes, are making AI the most significant driver of digital transformation. 

I shared with future CPAs the types of digital transformation made possible by AI.  Consider the following:

  • Digital marketplaces – digital platforms that more easily match buyers and sellers
  • Direct-to-customer engagements – that help companies better understand and address their customers
  • Digital products and services – New revenue streams derived through AI
  • Insights services  – to monetize data by aggregating data-sets that can provide business insights 

As I mentioned to rising CPAs, AI is fast becoming the new electricity.  It’s disrupting the accounting industry and becoming the lightning rod to true digital transformation.