The Impact of AI on SME Accounting

Accountancy firms have always endeavoured to provide value, and tailored financial advice to their clients. Stonehouse Accountants is no exception. The constantly evolving, accounting landscape puts enormous pressure to provide timelier and increased data quality to HMRC. 5 years down the line from the birth of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, HMRC is making big in-roads into the realisation of its desires. And whilst some of these desires are undoubtedly yet to be conceived, the provision of business accounting data, utilising the latest technological advancements, will assist HMRC to become one of the (self-proclaimed) most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world. Not a bad ambition!

Data Data Everywhere and not a Drop…

Digital, of course, means masses and masses of data. And, whilst the angle on MTD is the ease of communication between petty cash tin and HMRC, it is also fair to say that digitising data collation permits increased data-driven insights. Why? Well, partly because MTD significantly reduced data errors and this makes your dataset more valuable. What will be done with all this data? What kind of insights does MTD allow HMRC and how does this help me? All the leading accounting software providers have something to say about this.

Xero, a leading online accounting platform, provide an answer by describing the ‘data movement’ as being the realisation of every business having a supercomputer working for them. For many SME businesses this is a scary, yet exciting notion. For most of us, these Artificial Intelligence systems we have at our fingertips promise a simplified life – a simplified professional life. To date, AI has taught us that the unfathomable volume of data software providers possess, will assist with the mundane repetitive tasks we routinely experience. Hey Google / Alexa..what time is it? (any language, dialect, colloquialism…most of the time!).

How Will Accountants Use Artificial Intelligence?

AI within accounting software could, therefore, assist with the mundane and painful tasks, for example, of bank reconciliation. The scaremongers have predicted AI is the demise of the accountant – that the machine will take all the jobs! However, this is a potential future with not much probability of success!

For accountants, accounting software will, however, provide the opportunity for learning from the data that it stores. Xero.com state,

…things like categorising expenditure and sending accounts to be checked could be automated by AI and machine learning programmes which learn the habits of business…machine learning and AI have an increasing role in the profession, it will make you more proficient, more productive, capable of taking on and handling more clients, while also delivering more value through insight, rather than through long hours of tallying up figures.

The above is a sentiment shared by the accounting software industry. Many say that AI will change the way businesses are run and we are pleased to say that the accounting industry is leading the way in implementing new AI technology. Talk is cheap – unlike other industries, accountancy is doing something with AI for your benefit.

Will I Still Receive a Personalised Accounting Service?

AI and Machine Learning are making a presence in every walk of life, and within accounting it is here to stay and lend it’s helping hand. You are rest-assured that accountants, such as us, will be able to work smarter to provide you with an even better service, where the time we spend on your accounts is to make better judgements, and yes, a more personalised service.
Change is the only constant we have in life, and no one knows that better than us. The cloud, automation and easier business compliance (MTD) are terms we will hear increasing as we fight for the competitive edge that AI and Machine Learning promises.

Stonehouse Accountants provides extensive accounting services to the SME market. As such, we are able to provide you with indispensable financial direction. If this is something you require, please feel free to contact us here or give us a call on 01733 265888 to speak to a real person!