Can AI remove the burden of tedious parts of accountancy?

According to some one of the most tedious parts of the job is analysis of financial data, summarising documents, creating content, drafting documentation, advanced searching, analytics and insight and knowledge management.

“When you look at some of the tasks that auditors were doing – some of the boring, mundane tasks around churning data and manipulating it into a format where you can then actually do something valuable with it – that’s where artificial intelligence can play a really big part,” says Matthew Campbell, audit chief technology officer for KPMG UK.

According to a KPMG survey four in 10 senior audit professionals expect that the increased efficiency that AI can bring will lead to a reduction in the size of auditing teams.

This will mean that a junior accountant’s role is likely to change more towards systems management – overseeing AI powered software and databases – and relationship management, and away from the traditional reconciliations and ledgers work.

This will mean refocusing their training.

But the profession has had its problems, among them KPMG, fined £1.5m for failings in its 2019 audit of advertising agency M&C Saatchi.

The UK’s accountancy regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), carried out 19 investigations,  in the 2022-2023 financial year, slapping fines of £40.5 million on auditing firms and their clients for audit failings.

But greater use of AI may help with that.

AI is particularly good at spotting anomalies in vast amounts of data, making it useful when examining what may amount to billions of transactions by a client.