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Given how much consumer technology trends have redefined and transformed our world today, there are some technology trends in finance and accounting that we should look out for in 2022.
While the proliferation of computerisation, automation in accounting, ERPs, and artificial intelligence have been quite the trends we hear these days, many experts believe that new technology trends like big data and blockchain will continue to increase in importance in 2022.
In fact, experts believe that once these technologies are widely adopted, and challenges around industry regulations and adoption costs are overcome, they will benefit businesses exponentially by further reshaping the finance industry, reducing costs, and enhancing productivity.
Below is an overview of these technology trends that are truly redefining the finance industry and are driving us to this new industrial revolution that is going to further transform finance and accounting.
Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, as opposed to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. It is a system that can mimic “cognitive” functions that humans have in order to take over time-consuming, repetitive, and redundant tasks that could mean anything from procurement and purchasing, invoicing, purchase orders, expense reports, accounts payable and receivables, and more.
It is undeniable that organisations which adopt artificial intelligence to automate repetitive tasks to support their accounting functions will be able to complete critical accounting and business tasks with a shorter turnaround time and deploy their resources to higher business functions than those who don’t use technology.
The definition of big data is a large data set that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. It usually includes the digitisation of complex data sets (or new data sources) to glean new insights and value add in the daily reporting, drive results and create a better experience for clients through data that was not even possible before.
A huge benefit of big data lies in the fact that it can often provide real-time status of financial matters since it can process documents using natural language processing and computer vision faster. This makes timely reporting possible and inexpensive while allowing companies to be proactive and tweak strategies if the data shows unfavourable results.
Another technology trend that has significant implications for accounting and finance professionals is blockchain. Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, was first popularised by Bitcoin. Blockchain aims to “decentralise” networks as against conventional “centralised” mechanisms such as currency distribution. Blockchain is a way to securely store and accurately record data while providing absolute certainty over the ownership and history of assets.
While blockchain technology can allow simultaneous access, validation, and record updating in an immutable manner across a network that’s spread across multiple entities or locations, very few of its applications and startups are significantly beyond the proof of concept or pilot study stage. But once blockchain is widely adopted, and challenges around these areas are overcome, it will benefit firms by reducing costs, increasing traceability, and enhancing security.
The intelligence of things is the combination of artificial intelligence technologies with the Internet of Things to achieve more efficient operations without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Some of the things that this technology solution can do to help finance professionals are tracking ledgers, transactions, and other records in real-time.
This continuous monitoring makes activities such as audits much more streamlined and stress-free. In addition, the intelligence of things brings new opportunities and is poised to become an integral part of every finance professional’s lives with their Internet-connected devices and systems.
Similar to how the internet of things (IOT) is used with artificial intelligence, autonomous robots are another example of IOT in action. Autonomous robots are intelligent machines capable of performing tasks in the world independently of either direct human control or fixed programming.
In accounting, these robots may not have physical entities like your robotic vacuum cleaner or drone but the expertise from robotic process automation (RPA) can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as document analysis and processing, which are plentiful in any accounting department.
Additionally, Intelligent Automation (IA), a more sophisticated version of RPA, can mimic human interaction in many cases. This technology can be as sophisticated as understanding inferred meaning in client communication, using historical data to adapt to an activity and the like.
Catapulting our data exponentially is the latest upgrade in computing power. Increased computing power through shared computers and use of cloud storages not only allows finance and accounting departments and firms to store and use the data effectively, but also access it wherever and whenever necessary due to cloud computing.
This accessibility allows everyone and everything to connect virtually including machines, objects, devices and even industries. This new global wireless standard will definitely be the backbone of smarter computing in 2022.
In summary, if you are not already making use of these key technology trends, it is time to start and learn how to use them optimally to your advantage. But keep in mind that it is vital that the benefits of automation and artificial intelligence make business, cost, and commercial sense so that your accounting function/ firm can stay on top of the game.