Accountants need not fear AI

May 28, 2024 | 15:00
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During a press conference on May 28 at JW Marriott hotel, as part of the Asia-Pacific Dialogue, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) leaders predicted that the integration of AI into the accounting and auditing profession is inevitable.

According to Pulkit Abrol, the ACCA’s Asia Pacific managing director, there is currently an estimated $500 billion in value within data that has yet to be exploited, but to harness that data, accountants and auditors need a powerful ally such as AI.

Accountants need not fear AI

"The new technology presents many challenges for our sector, with the biggest being data and the management of existing data. Data analysis, extraction, and management are already significant challenges. We constantly hear declarations from big tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft about the importance of data and the incredible opportunities it brings," said Pulkit.

"While generative AI might pose risks, it will assist in managing complex data, leaving accountants to focus more on evaluations and tasks that machines cannot perform. Machines do not understand the security and sensitivity of data, but accountants do," he added.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the standards for economic reporting will continue to rise. While humans may not keep pace with the necessary skills, AI will serve as a support system to help millions of accountants and auditors adapt to these changes.

"Accountants play a crucial role in collecting and reporting data, deciphering documents, and producing sustainability reports. Although sustainability reporting may seem simple, it is very complex as it involves environmental impact and emissions data used for assessments. Periodically, around seven to 12 times a year, we publish a report called the AI Monitor. This report tracks and updates the developments of AI, providing a comprehensive evaluation of the concurrent progress of AI and accounting," Pulkit concluded.

Echoing her colleague’s sentiments, Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive, shed light on ACCA’s new strategy to guide the accounting and auditing sector in responding to global changes, including sustainable reporting, suggesting this transformation involves both technology and sustainability as twin pillars driving change.

"ACCA sees AI as an opportunity for the next generation of accountants. The accounting profession has undergone numerous technological adaptations, from the use of computers to today’s reporting systems. Therefore, accountants must redefine their roles. Accountants should be value creators. We see AI not as a challenge, but as an opportunity for accountants to create even more value," said Brand.

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By Hoang Minh

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