Feeding Practice Automation

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Everyone is talking about how AI is going to revolutionize the accounting industry. But AI is still in its infancy, in more ways than one.


Think of the technology as a little baby, it has all the potential to be a full human being, but it is not ready to fully engage with the other humans that surround it.

In order to have a useful AI technology, and automate your practice, you need to spend a lot of time programming and training the system rules and processes.

In order to have a useful AI technology, and automate your practice, you need to spend a lot of time programming and training the system rules and processes. Click To Tweet

Straight from the programmers keypad to you, the AI system needs data, and it needs rules, and it needs you to follow up for when it fails to interpret an instruction properly.

Even simple systems like Xero, and Wave, need rules that align with the way those systems, and your office processes, as well as the ways the client operates. Systems that might be very good at recognition of invoices from commercial vendors may not be as accurate in separating personal use purchases from business use purchases from the same vendor. Systems that are good at storing data may misfile and lose documentation with no traceability.

In all likelihood, your rules will have to be simple and the followup by humans will be required for interpretation. In all likelihood you will have to train, and monitor your systems.

But, here’s where it gets tricky. You’ll also need to be training your systems for each and every new system you add, and for every change that one of your vendors, or clients, implements.

Not only will you have to adapt your AI system to meet the changes, you’ll also have to test for every use case that you can think of, and then be prepared to handle the ones you didn’t think of.

Because AI is hyped extensively in trade press, and every overworked accountant is looking for a miracle solution to their workload, people often assume that AI can learn on the job. This is a risky assumption, and it’s sort of like thinking that little baby we talked about earlier can wander around the mall on their own while we get our hair done.

If you take the time to correctly program your rules, and set up a quality control system monitored by humans, you may be able to reap the rewards of AI systems as they roll out, but they are never going to be able to eliminate human interaction, and they’ll be able to help you have a more meaningful relationship with your clients. And, unlike human children, they won’t whine and get grumpy.

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Best to you and yours,




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