It should come as no surprise that technology has changed significantly in the last few years. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the world to adopt technologies in a few short months, that otherwise may have taken years. Here are just a few examples of the tech used to make that happen.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have both played a significant role in new and innovating technologies. We have all been using AI and ML for years without realizing it, every question we ask Siri or Google is using AI to recognize our voice and return search results, and ML is constantly improving the accuracy of distinguishing our voice and improving the search results to something relevant to us as individuals.
This type of AI/ML technology is being applied to the CPA world. Not to replace the CPA, but to augment their ability to quickly research, analyze, and respond to various changes in the field. If you have ever read through an IRS publication, you will quickly realize how dense the information can be. AI is being used to analyze these publications, and their revisions to quickly identify potential changes a business may expect to see as a result. Expect to see similar uses of AI in your own software suites, AI is very quickly emerging as an efficient method of processing a large amount of data quickly.
We cannot talk about AI and ML without mentioning Automation. Automation has long been a buzzword and is not a new idea, but it has made a comeback to the forefront due to AI. A combination of AI and Automation can significantly reduce the amount of mundane, tedious work that is completed by an employee. Personally, I am a big fan of automation. If there is a repetitive task that adds value to the business, it can and probably should be automated. Just keep in mind the amount of time you are saving a year vs the resources needed to build and maintain this new system. Both Microsoft and Google office suites offer excellent low-code tools to get started, and they are free to try.
I cannot resist mentioning cybersecurity here either. The past few years saw a significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks on businesses. This pushed the experts to develop new methods of detecting and responding to emerging threats. And you guessed it, they are using AI and Automation. Antivirus companies are using it to evaluate how malware works, then use that information to watch for similar behavior on a network and block it. Companies like Microsoft and Google are using AI in a similar way to detect anomalies in how and where we log into our email and other accounts and block the anomalies.
However, the bad guys also have access to this same technology, and they use it. Cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly complex and sophisticated. If you have not evaluated your businesses cyber-attack response plan recently, there is no better time than now.