We recently had the NZ Bookkeepers Association annual conference and the theme was the Future of Bookkeeping. I found this to be very interesting; particularly given some recent reports in the media suggesting that NZ would only require 18 accountants by the year 2030! There’s also been a recent article published suggesting that we should prepare for a less human future as business decisions will be more automated and more reliable due to artificial intelligence (AI). The article went on to say large amounts of data will enable business leaders to be more effective in their decision making.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that this will not happen, but I do have a problem with the people who say we will not need bookkeepers and accountants in the future. Here are two reasons why.
At The Back Office Company we are really embracing these changes; in fact we use a lot of AI products already with Xero and apps like Receipt Bank as two of the more common examples. We are just not convinced that AI will take over everything we do. We understand that our role as bookkeepers will evolve over the next few years but we also believe that we are the key link in the process in that if the information going into any system is not accurate then the information coming out the other end is useless. The way we enter that information has and will continue to change and it will become more automated but the big thing that has not changed is our need as bookkeepers, the people at the coalface entering the information, to communicate effectively with the business owners, their accountants and any other advisors to ensure the integrity of the financial information is correct.
I like to think of it as the trickle up effect. As bookkeepers we don’t make the important decisions on how you run your business but the information we provide is essential for you to be able to make good decisions (or bad, that’s up to you) on running your business.