Automation won’t replace your friendly neighborhood bookkeeper

 Automation is a bit of a scary word to many industries. After all, technology has been disrupting industries forever. Think about the seismic shift that ride-sharing services have made in the taxi industry or home-sharing services in the hotel industry. But what about your business’s ledgers?

In accounting, automation is a key feature of the big accounting platforms. It has simplified the day-to-day financial tasks of business tremendously. Drudge work that used to be done manually, like filling in numbers and columns, can now be automatic. 

Intuit and Emergent Research conducted a joint study on automation in accounting and found out that few businesses see it as a threat. Most see it as an opportunity, and 66 percent were already using automation in their business.

Does that mean automation can replace the need for a bookkeeper? No.

Automation is going to be key for the future of your books. It’s a fundamental part of accounting moving forward, but it’s not something that replaces your bookkeeper. Here’s why.

What automation can do

Automation of tasks via artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technology is seeping into every industry at some level. But some are more resistant to it than others.

A study from the McKinsey Global Institute found that the easiest jobs to automate were those that had predictable physical or mental tasks, including assembly line work and data entry. Those jobs are easily replaceable by machines, which do the work quickly and efficiently and do not tire. Routine and mundane tasks are easily handed over.

What automation cannot do

The same study, though, found something else: the hardest jobs to automate involve managing and developing people, making decisions, and planning.

Accounting and bookkeeping isn’t all mundane, rote work. Yes, your preferred accounting software can replace the routine, day-to-day work of manually entering transactions. It can even draw some reports and conclusions for you from data. But what it can’t do is be an advisor or help you make the right decisions for your business. Automation can give you data, but when it comes to adding context to that data, you’ll never beat the human touch.

Sure, some jobs will be lost to automation—and honestly, they’re the jobs that your accountant or bookkeeper probably doesn’t like that much anyway. A bookkeeping service like Lionshare does more than just keep a ledger. We serve as an adviser, a confidante, and a trusted business partner. That’s why people like me aren’t worried about automation. The exciting part, the part that adds value to your business, is analysis and advice. That is something you can never replace with a machine.

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