Some accountants believe their very existence is under threat from AI, machine learning and blockchain. It is a virtual certainty that the role of bookkeepers and accountants will change forever, probably within five years. Automation is coming, and this will drastically lower the value of routine functions, such as journal entries and preparation of accounts.

The SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba) commissioned Tangent Solutions to research how the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will impact the accounting profession. The report outlines a plausible guide for the future of finance executives operating in the 4IR.

The report – and its vitally important implications for accountants – will be discussed at the upcoming event jointly sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks and Saiba on 20 November. The theme of the event is Developing a Digital Plan for the SA Accountancy Industry. This is an event not to be missed as we launch into 2020.

Glen Ansell, head of intelligent automation at Tangent, points out the extent to which automation is already here and living with us. “We did a test run for an audit firm using a robot. The task was to conduct a materiality test (testing whether, for example, a sample of invoices were authentic). What it took at articled clerk a full day to complete, the robot did 560 times. That’s an example of what automation can achieve.” Read more on Accounting Weekly.