Businesswoman tapping into artificial intelligence.

The use of artificial intelligence in bookkeeping

When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), we’ve actually been using it for years without really realizing it. If you’re using any password manager apps such as LastPass or Dashlane, they are AI apps. In fact, QuickBooks® Online also benefits from AI because it learns from what we’re entering; the algorithms start to learn and anticipate the proper accounts to use.

Now that AI is expanding, how can we use it in bookkeeping? It’s interesting because several people are of the school of thought that AI will actually diminish the role of bookkeepers and start to replace us. I completely disagree with that. I do not believe that AI is a threat to accounting, and more particularly, to bookkeepers.

Several years ago, somebody mentioned to me that approximately 40 percent of our jobs would be automated, so what does that do to our role? If you’re billing hourly, that means that you are billing out less, so you need to increase your clients’ workload to increase your billable hours. Or, you can change to a fixed or value priced model, in which case you still need to add more services or value to keep the cost up. There is also a third option, in which you could follow the mechanic model and bill based on bookkeeping hours, not hours worked.

I think the main question is this: What are we doing with this information or with the extra time? We should be stepping up to offer our clients more advanced services. This is where we are stepping into the advisory side. The main message here is to be able to provide proper advisory services, so we need clean and accurate data. Without using tools such as Autoreview by Xenett, in order to guarantee that your data is clean, you would have to dig into every transaction at the transaction level. Who has the time for that? I know I don’t. The second option is that you could have all of your custom reports set up in your main accounting software, but Now in some cases, you could be talking a minimum of 30-40 reports. If you don’t have the time to dig into every transaction, then you would certainly have the time to go through all of the reports, or get smart and email them to yourself, right? Wrong. You still have to open all the reports to see if there is anything to review.

The next evolution of AI is an app such as Autoreview. Using AI, Autoreview has pre-set searches that scan your chart of accounts and selects the accounts to review based on the purpose of the search. Then, add in any custom search for any accounts or items you want to keep an eye on. They are pulled together in a simple dashboard where you can see how many items need review, such as tax codes, shareholder accounts, and more. You can even make most changes directly in the app, which then pushes into QuickBooks Online. You can now ensure your data is clean, and can frequently review the file for changes, tweaks, or additions that need to be made to the searches. You now look like the hero you are to the client and their accountant.

Now that your data is clean and accurate, take your services to the next level by offering advisory services. Start translating the data, and find out how the data can help your clients and their businesses.

So when people say that AI is a threat to accounting. I say it’s not. AI is actually forcing us to that next level into advisory. Since I’ve taken that leap, I actually thoroughly enjoy what I do a lot more than before, starting to really enjoy my job again, and am making a larger impact with my clients on their bottom line and decision making.

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