Are accountants’ days numbered?
The march of technology is likely to change the face of the accounting profession. While it may mean the loss of entry-level positions as we know them today, it could also restore some faith in the industry
With a history that stretches back to the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia, book-keeping has undergone substantial change over time. Now its more modern incarnation, accounting, seems set for a fundamental transformation of its own as technology reshapes the profession and creates new roles for its custodians. Kevin Black, audit digital leader at accounting firm Deloitte, tells the FM that "developments in robotic process automation, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, ‘big data’ and advanced data analytics have reshaped existing business models and facilitated the emergence of new ones". Because of this, the more repetitive and mundane tasks that fall under the rubric of accounting are becoming less important, while the need for higher-level problem-solving skills is on the rise, he says. Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said much the same at the Economic Indaba in January: in his company, jobs in accounting are at risk as software takes over work that would normally be done by a n...