Technology has changed the nature of accounting so that, rather than the merely the dry practice of plugging numbers into slots and balancing accounts receivable, accounts payable, and other income-related receipts, accountants will continue to shift into more advisor-related positions.
How, specifically, can accountants adapt to the times, since their jobs are becoming automated due to new developments in artificial intelligence and automation? Many fear what changes widespread automation may bring to their profession. What will their new roles as financial consultants and advisors look like in greater detail?
Technological developments like cloud computing, mobile accounting, and optical character recognition are rendering accountants’ roles both more secure and more hazardous — due to the digital nature of record keeping and data storage.
In addition to accountants’ roles changing, technology’s role in comprehensive tax reform is becoming more significant. Business analytics is transforming the nature of revenue, law, and transparency as well. According to Villanova University, “The use of data, beyond providing insights into populations and socio-economic trends, is informing the future of tax law, and the filing process itself.”
A more detailed look at the financial advisor’s role reveals the need for someone who is capable of making strategic financial decisions that affect the direction, priorities, and growth of a company. Finance professionals are often required to spend significant time in meetings working alongside corporate business owners, interpreting data and sharing financial information with other leaders in the company. They also provide counsel on portfolio management, investments, and assets.
What does this mean for current and future accounting professionals? Well, their role is bound to be more interactive and interpersonal than used to be the case, back in the days of number crunching and Excel spreadsheets.
Simply pointing a client in the direction of itemizing versus standard deductions or an ideal investment opportunity is not enough anymore. Rather, they’ll want to close the proverbial gap by delivering the service themselves or making a personal introduction to a financial expert who can best assist their clients in reaching their goals.
Typical Job Duties
Investopedia provides a typical day in the life of a financial advisor, beginning with prospecting for new clients—which may include the more modern methods of updating a blog and otherwise establishing a strong online presence.
Prospecting would be followed by servicing current clients, conducting administrative chores, financial planning, and continuing education. Making sure current client portfolios are in excellent shape, looking into client inquiries, and addressing any remaining financial issues should serve as any diligent advisor’s top priority before taking on new clients or business.
Legal tax issues for corporate accountants and financial advisors will include abiding by current tax law, providing information to help management make informed business decisions, verifying the reports and data records are accurate, indicating areas where efficiency could be improved, and protecting against fraud or embezzlement.
In short, the roles of accountants will continue to shift away from manual bookkeeping and data entry and toward personal and corporate financial advising. Moreover, according to Forbes, the focus of that financial advice is changing from investing to planning.
Ultimately, people will still be favored over algorithms and AI-powered virtual assistants due to the uniquely human ability to plan and predict based on multiple variables, as opposed to relying solely on machine-generated algorithms.
What is your opinion about the future of financial advising? What changes have you personally experienced, either as a business person or as an accounting professional? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.