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Artificial Intelligence in Big Data Era & Future of Chartered Accountants

NEHA DATTA 
on 25 May 2020

LinkedIn


Neophobia  is the fear of anything new, in its milder form it can manifest as the unwillingness to try new things or break from the routine. 

Technophobia  is the fear of advanced technology or complex devices, especially computers.

Automatonophobia  is the fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being, it may be wax figures, masks, dolls like Annabelle, humanoid robots or digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, etc. 

Collectively all these phobias result in the fear of AI.

Psychology says, " We fear what we don't understand", hence,  in this blog, I will demystify AI and it's influence on Chartered Accountancy.

A common myth regarding AI is that it works like the human brain. On the contrary :

• There is nothing "obvious" or "commonsense" for AI.

• AI has taught us that the processes in the human brain are even more complex and hard to recreate than we have previously thought.

What is artificial intelligence?

To understand it better let us go back to the time when it was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956, he proposed the conjecture, " Every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it. "

What is Big Data?

Big data can be described by the following characteristics:

  1. Volume:  Scale of data.
  2. Variety:  Data can be in the form of PDF, audio, video, images. It could be structured or unstructured.
  3. Veracity:  Trustworthiness of data.
  4. Velocity:  Frequency of incoming data. For example, in Facebook, every 60 seconds, there are 317,000 status updates; 400 new users; 147,000 photos uploaded; and 54,000 shared links.
Artificial Intelligence in Big Data Era and Future of Chartered Accountants

AI's potential in Accounting 

  • AI technology will improve data entry accuracy and lower the liability risk for accountants.
  • Real-time data helps accountants to give real-time solutions.
  • Analyze large amounts of data instantly, evaluate past performance to predict future outcomes.

You Tube uses Data Analytics, For example, when you search any video, within few seconds you are served with similar videos as per your preference via recommendations, more the time user spend watching videos more the  revenue You Tube will make, such revenue is shared with content creators which encourages them to create more content and that's how the whole chain works like.

Understanding customer behavior will make a CA aware of how he/she can make their accounts in such a way that will help them increase their profits and lower their expenses.

AI's potential in Auditing

PWC introduced software for Fraud Detection named GL.ai

Airborne drones launched to monitor inventory 

During my research on the topic, I came across some dramatic headlines. Take a look!!!!!

From the time when trial balances were tallied by Chartered Accountants themselves  to the time now when even simplest Accounting software can do this for you. Role and jobs for CAs are constant.

Companies will always need CA that can analyze and interpret AI data, as :

• Algorithms can only operate in parts of the world that humans can precisely describe to it. The work of an analyst, however, does not just involve conducting data analysis within closed environments. 

 We, humans, are not restricted to the information supplied to us we can think beyond that & that is where the concept of Professional Skepticism comes as we do not blindly rely on the information provided.

 Understanding what it means to be human and caring about human experiences are intrinsically linked to the analysis process. For example, if we give AI an order to solve world hunger the easiest way to solve world hunger is just to kill all the life on the planet & then nothing would ever be hungry again. But obviously, this is not what we want. 

Therefore it is unlikely that.. an algorithm is going to learn to understand humans anytime soon. 

What's Ahead with AI?

AI will do administrative work, repetitive tasks, on the other hand, we will be involved in consultations, data analysis, people skills, etc.

 

Having better technology doesn't mean anything if one cannot act on it. That's where the role of an accountant comes. Even if machines can perform all the calculations or initial audit-related tasks, someone would be needed to verify that AI is doing its task correctly and is not faulty.

Instead of being a victim of technophobia, let's work in harmony with technology as the amalgamation of both can reap Fruitful results.

 

"Change is only constant and in this era of emerging technologies, to remain a productive asset in this industry we need to be adaptive to new technologies, tone up our skill set & keep updating ourselves & embrace change. The best time for new beginnings is now. "

For Better Understanding Give my presentation a watch at National Conference for CA students by ICAI: https://youtu.be/_tO_AnZQkXs


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