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AiCCOUNTANTS®: Accounting With AI, Not By AI

Treating AI as the accountant’s intelligent, modern data assistant


  • Research shows that accountants and auditors are among the occupations with the highest exposure to artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Today’s accountants do more analytical and advisory work. Data and information handling and management, previously undertaken by accountants, is more a technology function (enabled by AI) than a human function.
  • With AI as an intelligent, modern data assistant, data work should be more efficient, accurate and productive.

Imagine you are in the year 2030. Artificial intelligence (AI) has fully invaded every piece of software accountants use. Your clients take it for granted that you are an expert in leveraging AI for their benefit. In such a scenario, can you imagine what the work you are doing will be like?

For starters, you will be an AiCCOUNTANT®, the accountant augmented by AI (provided you embrace AI wholeheartedly). You will be doing the accounting using AI, with AI. How you define “accounting” might change, though, and likely change drastically.

But before we get into the future, let’s get on the same page now.


If you haven’t already realised, no AI system can work without a (very) large volume of underlying data from which the system can learn and decide. If there is not enough data, there is no AI. Because no one would use an AI solution that only partly knows a function, task, or industry. Would you trust the accuracy of AI-driven accounting software trained on only one year’s transactions of just 10 or 100 businesses? It simply won’t be able to classify the many transactions that the AI system has never been trained with.

So, no data, no AI.

Less than adequate data, not good AI.

Further, AI systems do not have a (human) conscience, that is, they do not have context outside the underlying data. That is where you, the human accountant, come in as the vital, irreplaceable part of the financial world. You are the one who will make sense of the world by leveraging the immense new capabilities of AI systems to discover insights from the colossal volumes of data.


According to 2023 research by OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania, accountants and auditors are among the occupations with the highest exposure to AI.

But will AI take over the accountants’ jobs, or replace the tasks that accountants perform? At this juncture, redefining the “work” accountants do is necessary.

Over the years, technology has transformed the world of accountants and the very work accountants do. Accountants were collecting data, entering the figures into software, organising them, ensuring the correct application of accounting regulations, compiling financial statements and tax returns, and reviewing/analysing them. Now, accountants have moved on to more analytical and advisory work as data and information handling and management is more a technology function than a human function. AI takes this change forward, and at a very fast pace. Without AI, software programmers manually wrote the software code to automate more and more of the work of accountants. It was a tedious, time-consuming, and costly path. With its machine learning and natural language processing capabilities, AI can process large volumes of data very quickly and actually learn from the data, without requiring programmers to write the software code. In other words, software companies with access to years of accurate accounting, tax, audit, payroll, etc. data, can now use AI to make such software far more capable. For example, you may not need to set “rules” to classify a transaction; the AI software can do so automatically from learning from billions of transactions that accountants have classified over the years. And, this is just one example.


Think of all the work you do and how that relates to the relevant “data”.

Think further about what you do with that data and how, and then think about how AI can learn from that data to do what you now do. Any work tasks based on defined rules and regulations can be easy for AI to gobble up.

You would, therefore, want to treat AI as your intelligent, modern data assistant. (Yes, AI should and must report to you.)

You’d like to get as much data work done by AI as possible. Think of new, much higher efficiency, accuracy, and productivity that AI will make available to you.

In the increasingly AI-driven accountancy profession, if your work involves being closer to “data” handling, AI will likely highly impact your career.

Let AI help turn you into an AiCCOUNTANT®, not replace you. AI won’t replace you, but an accountant augmented by AI will.


What can you do if data become AI’s playground?

The answer is complicated but also simple.

Who really leads in the creation of new data?

It is your clients. Their business and financial decisions lead to transactions that lead to the creation of new data.

They don’t create the new data; their decisions result in new data.

Your clients’ decisions emerge from their goals, aspirations, fears, needs, wants, risk tolerance, belief systems, and their take on current and future market trends, etc. There is no data available about this. It is in their minds. And you are the only professional who has direct access to their minds. AI does not and cannot access their minds.

You know that business and financial decisions are better made with data insights, accountants’ experience, and expertise. While AI can help you leverage “existing” data, your ability to connect with your clients on a human level will be critically important for your future success. As you deal more with client decisions, you will need to adapt your skill sets to take on more analytical, strategic and advisory roles; guide clients on strategies, trends, risk management, etc., and review the work produced by AI (AI can have significant biases and the work output will need to be carefully examined. Read more about this is in my book, Rise of The Aiccountants®.

Remember the one word that will ensure your future success (“decisions”). The closer you are to “decisions” than “data”, the higher your chances for success will be.


As you may have already experienced, the AI world is exploding with new daily announcements, new products, and new features. It can be overwhelming, and it is easy to get drowned in irrelevant AI tools quickly. Worse, new AI features/capabilities of the day-to-day software solutions can fly under the radar and go unnoticed, suddenly impacting you.

It would be best if you had the clarity to navigate the AI path ahead successfully. Here are some practical, actionable recommendations:

  • Learn how AI is created, how it learns (on its own), and how it works. You do not need to be a programmer to learn the AI fundamentals.
  • Most likely, you use some core software solutions for your usual work. Keep an eye on what the software companies whose solutions you are using are planning/doing on the AI front. They will likely “build in” AI features within such solutions. Make sure you know what those features are/will be and how you will use them to create which new benefits for your clients.
  • Also, keep an eye on “third party” AI tools like ChatGPT and how you can leverage them to enhance your communications and coordination with your clients, for your marketing, etc.
  • Start not with AI solutions, but with what you will use AI for:
    • Ideally, for “outcomes” your clients are expecting
    • For your firm:  
      - efficiency/productivity/profitability
      - enhancing existing services
      - creating new service capabilities
  • Try (some tools, features), test, implement, expand to more clients. Repeat.

You don’t buy any software. You buy what you can do with it.

Similarly, what truly matters is how you will harness AI to deliver a better impact to your clients.

Hitendra R. Patil is President, Global Finance and Accounting Outsourcing Services, Datamatics Business Solutions Inc.

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