As we get further into the fourth Industrial Revolution with technologies and trends that include virtual reality and artificial intelligence, there are some who fear that AI will steal humans’ jobs. And while the majority of AI applications are already failing to meet some of the high expectations humans have placed on the technology, it isn’t going away. Instead, we continue to find the most realistic applications for AI, specifically the machine learning category. More specifically, machine learning in accounting technology.
Machine learning is a computer’s ability to recognize and apply patterns, conclude algorithms from those patterns, and then refine those algorithms based on feedback. It’s broadly available application and functionality are a terrific supplement to accounting.
Machine Learning 101
Let’s first break machine learning down a little more. First, it excels at its own version of inductive reasoning: based on an existing set of data points or examples, the computer can “learn” what the rules are for determining a result. Machine learning is especially good for predicting outcomes. Computers can process large amounts of data far faster than a human brain, giving machine learning the power to process thousands of data points to identify the most relevant ones and apply its inferred rules.
Lest you think you’ve never used machine learning before, suggestions such as those you find in your Netflix queue or Amazon browsing are everyday examples of machine learning. Rating a show, actor, product, or book lets the technology draw its own conclusions and point you toward similar results.
Accounting and Machine Learning
So how does machine learning apply to accounting technology? Simply put, machine learning helps accountants manage the most repetitive and predictable tasks. Most accounting technology already employs machine learning tech to auto-categorize transactions and track entry errors for reconciliation. Other accounting tasks that can now be managed by machine learning and AI include:
- Matching items to amounts for simplified invoicing
- Tracking errors in books to streamline auditing
- Automating bank reconciliations and categories
- Using AI chatbots to address financial queries
Machine learning is especially helpful for small businesses and entrepreneurs who don’t have the luxury of a full-sized—or even full-time—accounting and finance department. Accounting technology with machine learning makes “DIY accounting” much more achievable by automating menial tasks such as categorization and reconciliation.
The longer you use the technology, the more accurate your machine learning will become at tracking transaction histories. With machine learning, your accounting technology may “notice” that something is awry before you do because of its “experience” processing big data. Simply put, the longer you use machine learning, the easier it will become to practice DIY accounting.
Will AI Steal My Job?
With all these technological advances, it could be easy for accountants to fear being AI-ed right out of a job, but there’s no need to fear machine learning and AI. Machine learning will actually make an accountant’s job easier and more efficient by automating the more menial and time-consuming tasks. This frees up time to focus on the analysis and financial storytelling your company needs to build and improve for the future.
Machine learning in your accounting technology will move you from being just a bean counter to a trusted advisor. It will eliminate errors and significantly reduce liability. Implementing this accounting technology will give you the competitive advantage you need to stay profitable long into the future.
Get Smart With PositiveVision
Getting smart machine learning for your accounting tasks starts with having the right accounting software in place. Plenty of good systems exist in the marketplace with any number of helpful features. The key is finding the right solution for your business, including the leap to machine learning and AI. That’s where PositiveVision comes in. With nearly 20 years of history helping businesses in the Greater Chicago area find the right accounting technology for their needs, PositiveVision knows how to get the right solution in the right place at the right time, all while keeping your business objectives top of mind.
If you’re ready to onboard some machine learning and AI along with your next accounting technology purchase, let us help you get what you need.