Hiring poses its fair share of challenges for public accounting’s HR departments, even during the best of times. Now, compound the usual frustration with a global pandemic, mandatory stay-at-home orders, and cross-industry disruption. Suddenly, the ability to predict workforce needs with any confidence isn’t a job skill you’d take for granted. It’s a superpower. As the coronavirus continues to disrupt daily operations across the country, public accounting firms are staring down the barrel of just one more problem on an already long list. To hire or not to hire? Without the ability to make long term predictions about the state…
Why Technology Will Never Replace Skilled Audit Workers
Today’s public accounting firms need to be more agile than ever, scaling their work to meet clients’ demands at the drop of a hat. And, thanks to technology, they’re equipped to do so. Thanks to AI and machine learning auditing is entering a transformational era. But with this transformation comes concerns over the future role of skilled audit workers.
As a tech-forward company, this is a controversial topic for us. After all, our work is twofold: to keep our clients at the forefront of the audit industry, and to support the development of audit professionals. When it comes to discussions around technological advancement, these two goals may seem to be in direct opposition to each other. However, we believe that technology, rather than replacing audit workers, will elevate their work and enable even deeper career development.
The rise of technology
A recent report in Accounting Today shows that the industry spends $3-5 billion each year on technology. Tech isI so prevalent that it’s classified as an operational baseline cost for many major firms.
Technology is particularly useful in the accounting industry because of its ability to automate menial tasks such as data collection and entry. Essentially, advanced software can take on the data entry role. This frees up skilled audit workers to perform higher-level analysis and predictions.
The role of skilled audit workers
In 2017, well-informed accounting professionals predicted that the majority of accounting processes would be fully automated by 2020. These predictions covered tasks like audit, payroll, tax, and banking. And yet, here we are.
True, the boundaries of the profession have and will continue to shift. And with those boundaries, the necessary skills. But, much like in medicine, agriculture, and manufacturing, automation will not remove jobs so much as rewire them.
For example, most patients would rather see their doctor than a robot. However, we’re comfortable with the idea that AI empowers doctors’ diagnostic decisions, allowing them to create informed treatment plans.
The same is true for public accounting and your skilled audit workers. While technology will empower them to outsource monotonous daily tasks, auditors will still provide a critical level of human oversight. Plus, interaction with a human professional remains crucial for many reasons. After all, your clients can’t ask a software program their questions or turn to them for assurance and advice.
Technology empowers skilled audit workers
Rather than replacing your core team of skilled audit workers, automation makes them more effective. Consider the implications.
With the power to track minuscule changes in an account, we may see a shift towards continuous auditing and monitoring models. Additionally, rather than testing samples and creating risk assessments based on limited information, the skilled audit workers of tomorrow will have the ability to work with complete data sets. With technology, they’ll raise the bar from “reasonable assurance” to full guarantees.
Harnessing the power of technology
While some industry experts dread the impact that technology will have on the industry, we at Makosi believe this passive adoption promotes a reactive rather than proactive mindset. Why, as this industry’s thought leaders, should we wait for technology to be thrust upon us when we could be adopting and adapting it to suit our own needs? Skilled audit workers do, and will always, exist at the junction of advanced technology and world-class service. Ready to tap into the power of a flexible skilled audit workforce? Contact Makosi today.