Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Predicted to Takeover

Forrester reported last summer that they estimate that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025. Additionally, Gartner has predicted that one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines within ten years. Moreover, McKinsey & Co found in an analysis that “as many as 45% of the activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.”

AI Takeover – What Does it Mean?

AI takeover is not a new concept; it has served as the main theme in many movies over the last decades; such as the Terminator and Matrix film series. However, science fiction films have mainly focused on true AI takeover (taking control over the planet over the human race).

There are mixed opinions on to what extend of AI takeover will happen and whether it is good for the labor force or not. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most known scientists, said in 2014 that he believes that “computers will overtake with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours”. Whether it will happen in that time frame or not, one cannot argue with how technology has disrupted the labor force in the past decade.

Does AI Remove or Create Jobs?

Technology has, in the past 10 years, created jobs that never existed before; such as app developer, social media manager, and cloud computing services. Technology has also allowed humans to become more productive and created more opportunities for consumer empowerment. But is this going to be the case with AI?

Fully developed AI systems will essentially perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence. Thus, machines would be able to learn autonomously, make decisions and interact with the world via sensory capabilities.

Related: 3 Key Tech Benefits in Healthcare

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Accenture predicts that 80% of accounting and finance tasks will be automated in the next five years. What does this mean for the future of accounting professionals?

AI is going to change the accounting profession. But rather than replacing accountants, it is simply going to alter the tasks of accountants. Bernard Marr, an author specializing in business, technology and big data, wrote in a recent article for Forbes that “it is high time for every accountant to reflect on their job, identify the opportunities machine learning could offer to them, and focus less on the tasks that can be automated and more on those inherently human aspects of their jobs”.

Ultimately, accountants need to stay ahead of the technology curve and figure out what tasks they can automate. This, as a result, will allow for more time on tasks that still require human intelligence. Robots will not replace accountants anytime soon; however, AI will definitely disrupt and change the profession.

Related: Cloud Software – The Competitive Advantage

What are you doing to stay ahead of the technology curve?

4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

What is SaaS?

As discussed last week in our Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method where businesses purchase software via a Web-based service. The main difference with this method, from purchasing software the traditional way, is that you rent services and you don’t have to worry about set-up costs or maintenance. Basically, you pay-for-use or via a subscription fee and only use the services you need.

Are Nonprofits Using the Cloud?

Nonprofits strive to invest in their core missions, while at the same time reducing operational cost. For many of these organizations it is difficult to maximize efficiency without breaking the budget. Cloud services are a cost-effective alternative for nonprofits, as they allow organizations to gain access to software without the additional costs of maintaining it on your own. SaaS deployment among organizations is on the rise. According to Cisco Global Cloud Index, it is estimated to grow by 59% in 2018.

Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

SaaS offers advantages for nonprofits of all sizes. While we could make this a lengthy post and touch on all of them we have simply listed the top 4 benefits below and the reason why they solve problems for nonprofits.

1. Upfront investment is minimal

There is no initial cost for setting up or other upfront fees. You would just pay as you go and you can cancel at any point. This is a big benefit to smaller nonprofits especially, who may not have the upfront cash to invest in an IT solution even though it is critical for business. Also, investing in SaaS allows your nonprofit to expense the cost as an operational expenditure rather than capital (which most CFOs prefer).

2. Cost saving

SaaS can be a real money-saver. At first glance, SaaS may look expensive; however, when you take into account the money that is needed to purchase your own software and paying people to manage it, it is quite the opposite. In the long run, SaaS offers a more affordable way to gain access to up-to-date technology without breaking your budget.

3. Scalability

SaaS is extremely flexible as it allows your organization to easily add functionality and applications. This is especially important for nonprofits who are quickly growing, have changing needs and want to have a quick response time.

3. Remote Access

SaaS is delivered via web-based applications, which means that you can access the software from anywhere, any device, and anytime (granted that you have access to the Internet). Remote access is a great benefit for nonprofits who have employees that spend time out in the field but still need access to IT software.

4. No IT headaches

Nonprofits that invest in SaaS can say goodbye to IT troubles such as maintenance, backup, updates and security. Instead, the SaaS provider is in charge of doing all of this and for no extra charge.


Does your nonprofit organization consider making the switch to SaaS? Do you see any hurdles with taking the leap? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

LEARN ABOUT FP&A IN THE CLOUD

DOWNLOAD FREE PDF
3 Key Tech Benefits in Healthcare

3 Key Tech Benefits in Healthcare

Technology is disrupting markets in significant ways by reducing costs, making systems and processes more efficient and empowering customers. The healthcare industry, which had $3.2 trillion in expenditures in 2015 (nearly 18% of total GDP) in the U.S., is expected to be able to reduce costs by $300 billion by simply implementing new technology. Before going into the key tech benefits in healthcare, we will briefly discuss the different technology solutions that are already making an impact.

Related: How do CFOs Keep Up with Technology Changes?

Artificial Intelligence

Commercialization of big data and machine learning has introduced AI to the healthcare industry and it’s believed to change the way diagnoses and treatment of patients are carried out. A study by Frost and Sullivan in 2016 projected that the AI market in healthcare will grow by 40% and reach $6.6 billion in 2021. Additionally, Frost and Sullivan also projects that AI can improve outcomes by 30-40% and reduce treatment costs by 50%. Ultimately, AI is expected to allow the health industry to automatically diagnose and recommend treatments to patients. The fact that implementing AI will reduce costs makes it even more enticing.

Mobility

By 2018 it is estimated that 65% of all interactions with healthcare facilities will be via mobile devices. In November 2016, StatCounter also reported that, for the first time, there are more users around the world that are accessing the Internet from mobile devices than from desktop computers. Needless to say, the increase in mobile usage among customers is something that the healthcare industry is taking advantage of. Mobile usage has also enabled the new concept Telemedicine, where patients can get in touch with their physicians from remote locations by simply joining a conference call.

Cloud Access

Cloud technology has changed healthcare facilities in multiple areas by for example allowing employees get real-time guidance through information systems. More importantly, cloud access has allowed healthcare facilities to safely store data and for a reduced cost. Hospitals, in particular, have to store massive amounts of data on patients on a daily basis that they ultimately use to make strategic and informed decisions about treatments.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

Main Tech Benefits in Healthcare

Technology will continue to disrupt the healthcare industry going forward, and there is a reason for it. Digital approaches offer enticing benefits for both healthcare facilities and patients.

1. Reduced Cost

Technology will reduce costs, both for businesses and customers. Businesses want to maximize profits, customers want to pay less money. All in all, it works out for everyone.

2. Better Care

Technology approaches such as cloud software allows physicians to make better informed decisions in tough times, which ultimately can improve treatments of patients and outcomes. Healthcare facilities want to treat patients so they can live longer lives and patients want to receive the best care possible. Technology makes this possible.

3. Empowered Patients

Finally, technology also empowers the patients, who no longer have to schedule their days around a doctor’s visit. Technology has essentially allowed healthcare facilities to become more patient-centric.

Conclusively, technology in healthcare offer many innovative approaches to grow and save money at the same time. What are your thoughts on technology as it relates to healthcare? Do you agree on the benefits listed above or do you see other potential benefits with technology in healthcare? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Our CPA Day of Service

For the last six years, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) have challenged its members to give back to the community by participating in the CPA Day of Service. The idea came originally from one of NCACPA’s Board of Directors...
Read More

How to Improve Your FP&A Process Right Now

FP&A Teams Have the Wrong Focus According to a recent report by Adaptive Insights, CFOs want their employees to spend less time on collecting and preparing data and more time on forecasting and analysis. The survey revealed that financial planning and analysis...
Read More

8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

If you haven't already, it is time to consider switching over to the cloud. Gartner recently released a report on cloud computing where they predicted that by 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "no-internet" policy is today. In order to stay...
Read More

Sage Announces Acquisition of Intacct for $850m

On Tuesday, Sage Group, a U.K. based technology company, announced that they are acquiring Intacct Corporation. It is the largest ever acquisition by Sage, who will be purchasing Intacct for $850 million. The transaction will close within the next few weeks. Going...
Read More

7 Ways Technology Helps Your Nonprofit Grow

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, including public charities, private foundations, and other types of nonprofit organizations such as chambers of commerce. According to a report by PNP Staffing Group, the nonprofit sector has grown 20% in the...
Read More

Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

What is Cloud Accounting? Intuit's eBook "The Appification of Small Business" projects that 78% of small businesses will depend on cloud technology in 2020. Furthermore, Technavio's report on the global business accounting software market 2017-2021 estimates that the...
Read More

3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) often have budget and staffing constraints - making it even more important to have accurate forecasts and budgets. Yet, SMBs tend to make small mistakes that often result in a financial loss - or worse - closing up for good. To...
Read More

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Predicted to Takeover Forrester reported last summer that they estimate that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025. Additionally, Gartner...
Read More

How to Improve Your Sales Forecast Accuracy

What is Forecasting and Why is it Important? Forecasting is an essential part of every business as it helps you avoid unforeseen issues and manage your business more efficiently. The sales forecast is especially important, as it serves as the base for your company's...
Read More

4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

What is SaaS? As discussed last week in our Beginner's Guide to Cloud Computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method where businesses purchase software via a Web-based service. The main difference with this method, from purchasing software the traditional way, is...
Read More
A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

When people refer to “the cloud” nowadays it’s usually not the mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere they are talking about, but the cloud as if refers to cloud computing. Gartner reported earlier this year that the worldwide public cloud services market is expected to grow 18% in 2017 and ultimately total $246.8 billion. Additionally, a survey conducted by Clutch showed that nearly 70% of U.S. businesses said they were planning on increasing their spending on cloud computing in 2017. Needless to say, “the cloud” is here to stay.

But What is “the Cloud”?

It may not be news to you that more and more companies are switching over to “the cloud”, but what is it? In order to fully understand its benefits, this post will give you a beginner’s guide to the cloud and what essentially is so good about it.

How Did the Cloud Get Its Name?

Business Insider reported last year that one of the earliest uses of the term was in a diagram from US Patent 5,485,455, “Network having secure fast packet switching and guaranteed quality of service,” that was filed in January 1994. The figure of the diagram depicts the network model as a cloud-shaped figure. While the authors of the patent didn’t mean to illustrate the network as a cloud, that is how it essentially got its name.

Nevertheless, the term didn’t grow in popularity until Amazon Web Services launched Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) in 2006. After that, many other companies followed their way by launching software (Salesforce), storage (DropBox), and combinations of the two (Microsoft Office 365). By now, 2017, the term “the cloud” is virtually everywhere.

What is Cloud Computing?

Merriam Webster defines cloud computing as:

“the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet”

Ultimately, it means that you rely on sharing computing resources rather than having your own local servers or personal devices to manage applications. Thus, companies who engage in cloud services, lease their digital assets and their employees essentially don’t know the location of the resources they are using. You can say these resources are simply “in the cloud” somewhere.

Three Types of Cloud Service Models

Cloud computing services is sold in three main models; Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): This method of delivering software offers businesses access to functions remotely via a Web-based service and at a much lower cost than licensed applications. Most businesses offers SaaS via a monthly fee and clients don’t have to invest in additional hardware or worry about set-up or maintenance.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): With this method, the entire platform is delivered as a service. This means that you would outsource your entire platform instead of having your own employees manage your hardware and software.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This method delivers the entire infrastructure as a service. Your company would essentially outsource the infrastructure but only pay for the resources you end up using.

While the three methods all differ from each other, they also share some similarities:

  1. You rent services instead of purchasing them, which means that IT becomes an operating expense rather than capital
  2. The platform vendors are responsible for all the maintenance, admin, troubleshooting, backup etc.
  3. Platform vendors are easy and flexible in customizing the services to you

Benefits of the Cloud

Related: 5 Top Benefits of Cloud Technology

The reason the cloud has gained so much traction in the past decade is because of all the benefits it provides. Forbes recently listed the following two benefits of the cloud:

  • Reliability: hardware and software redundancy protect you from loss of data
  • Integration: cloud services can integrate with other service systems such as project management, email and marketing, apps and social media

IBM’s dedicated Cloud page on their website lists flexibility, efficiency and strategic value as benefits of the cloud. Cloud computing offers the ability to scale, customization, and remote access via the Internet. Moreover, the cloud removes underlying infrastructure and maintenance costs. IBM also claims that “cloud services give enterprises a competitive advantage by providing the most innovative technology available”.

Related: Cloud Software – The Competitive Advantage

Some of the main benefits that our cloud based software clients mention are the following:

  • 24/7 support
  • Utility based
  • Easy and agile deployment
  • Frees up internal resources
  • Lower capital expenditure
  • Highly automated

We would love to hear what your opinions are on the cloud. Have you or do you plan on investing in cloud technology in 2017? What benefits does the cloud offer your business? Do you see any drawbacks with the cloud?

The Nine Circles of Excel Hell: Why Financial Planning Belongs in the Cloud

Learn about transforming Excel into something more powerful – FP&A in the cloud.

Download Your Free Copy
Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

It’s the first day of the month, the finance and accounting teams are reconciling balance sheet accounts, recognizing revenue, accruing expenses, and recording financial transactions. Everybody is busy working against the clock to have the financial statements ready on time. Then, a request from the senior management team arrives. They want a series of sales reports so they can decide when to launch the new product line. This is a situation where a Business Intelligence (BI) solution would’ve been very handy. But let’s start with the basics.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the set of strategies, processes, applications, data, products, technologies and technical architectures which are used to support the collection, analysis, presentation and dissemination of business information.

Business Intelligence Systems

To implement BI, you need BI systems. These are solutions created to collect, store and analyze data for informed decision-making. These systems are particularly useful for evaluating customer or brand profitability, carrying out statistical analysis, undertaking inventory evaluation, and being part of a market research project.

Good BI solutions, at a minimum, include reporting with multidimensional aggregation and allocation, real-time information, reliable integration with the data sources and key performance indicators.

Challenges of BI Systems

Quite often, data is scattered in disparate systems such as accounting, forecasting, sales, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, inventory, etc. So, when a company decides it’s time to implement a BI tool, a big project must be launched. Not only because the new system needs to be implemented, but also because the IT department needs to create programs and processes to feed the BI tool with data extracted from all these systems.

Writing interface programs with instructions to extract data from a system requires extensive knowledge of the database. This means you need an experienced IT programmer in staff—or hire an expensive consultant—for each system that has data needed by the BI solution.

Then comes the problem of deciding how often to refresh the data in the BI system. Should it be weekly? Nightly? More than once per day? Unless you refresh the data in the BI database as soon as a transaction occurs in the originating systems, the BI information will never be real-time.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

ERP Solution with Integrated BI functionality

These issues don’t exist in an integrated solution with business intelligence capabilities. Software like this acts as the trusted system of record and depository of most of the financial and operational data. It offers the whole spectrum of core financial modules and it can be extended with fully integrated Intacct modules such as project accounting, time and expense management, contract revenue management, contract and subscription billing, inventory management, and more.

And built in the solution, multiple software companies offers the business intelligence components required to make smart and informed decisions:

  • Multidimensional aggregation and allocation. Thus, you can tag transactions to as many dimensions as needed. These dimensions can then be used on reports as criteria to sort, filter and aggregate.
  • Real-time reporting. Being an integrated system, all modules update a single database. Once a transaction is entered in any module, it is available for viewing and reporting. No IT interface programs and no IT experts are required.
  • Reliable integration with the data sources. Most systems offers pieces of software (APIs) that allow easy integration of third party systems with the database and functions.
  • Key performance indicators optimization. Most software solutions integrates dashboards that provide real-time access to key information and indicators that can be customized to meet the needs of the business.

Is your company at a stage where BI solutions are being considered? If you’re interested in learning more, check out the free whitepaper below on how to successfully launch a BI initiative.

Learn Secrets to Drive A Successful BI Initiative

A 2014 report by Dresner Advisory Services, the Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study, surveyed more than 1,200 IT and business professionals at companies of all sizes, from around the world, about their use of BI.

The study revealed that companies that achieve BI success follow five common best practices. We share these approaches to help you launch and drive a successful BI initiative at your organization — before your competitors crack the code first and pass you by.

GET FREE PDF
Outgrowing QuickBooks?

Outgrowing QuickBooks?

Congratulations, you’re outgrowing QuickBooks

When your business grows, you should celebrate—not suffer. Try telling that to the finance team that’s still trying to make QuickBooks work. It’s just too basic to handle growing organizations with evolving needs. So your team might be compensating with inefficient workarounds and spreadsheets. And you may realize you can’t rely on your basic reports to be of any strategic use. That’s a lot to pay for a “low cost” solution. Find out what makes Intacct the top solution for QuickBooks graduates.

Make the “day to day” easier

If your team is spending hours on spreadsheets, your entry-level accounting solution isn’t doing you any favors. Ditch the extra data entry with Intacct’s feature-rich cloud accounting solution. Automate multi-entity close and reporting, revenue recognition, project accounting, and more. Save team time today and be prepared for tomorrow with a solution that can handle almost any accounting process you can imagine.

Flex your reporting muscle

Intacct was uniquely designed to give you endless reporting flexibility. Unlike QuickBooks, Intacct enables you to track both financial and operational data in real time. You can easily drill from top-level results down to the performance for a specific entity or location, then down to individual transactions. And you can access your reports from any web browser, on any device. Integrate without IT, and other cloud benefits Organizations that are outgrowing QuickBooks can expect high ROI when switching to cloud accounting. You don’t have to worry about system availability and security—that comes guaranteed. Plus, it’s instantly easier to connect with other cloud-based best-in-class business systems, like Salesforce CRM, so you can share data between systems without human data entry or errors.

Key outcomes:

  • Improve productivity by eliminating manual processes and spreadsheets
  • Get instant visibility into business performance, anytime, anywhere
  • Integrate with your other applications to eliminate data re-entry and information silos
  • Save money, increase security, and reduce IT headaches

Our CPA Day of Service

For the last six years, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) have challenged its members to give back to the community by participating in the CPA Day of Service. The idea came originally from one of NCACPA’s Board of Directors...
Read More

How to Improve Your FP&A Process Right Now

FP&A Teams Have the Wrong Focus According to a recent report by Adaptive Insights, CFOs want their employees to spend less time on collecting and preparing data and more time on forecasting and analysis. The survey revealed that financial planning and analysis...
Read More

8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

If you haven't already, it is time to consider switching over to the cloud. Gartner recently released a report on cloud computing where they predicted that by 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "no-internet" policy is today. In order to stay...
Read More

Sage Announces Acquisition of Intacct for $850m

On Tuesday, Sage Group, a U.K. based technology company, announced that they are acquiring Intacct Corporation. It is the largest ever acquisition by Sage, who will be purchasing Intacct for $850 million. The transaction will close within the next few weeks. Going...
Read More

7 Ways Technology Helps Your Nonprofit Grow

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, including public charities, private foundations, and other types of nonprofit organizations such as chambers of commerce. According to a report by PNP Staffing Group, the nonprofit sector has grown 20% in the...
Read More

Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

What is Cloud Accounting? Intuit's eBook "The Appification of Small Business" projects that 78% of small businesses will depend on cloud technology in 2020. Furthermore, Technavio's report on the global business accounting software market 2017-2021 estimates that the...
Read More

3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) often have budget and staffing constraints - making it even more important to have accurate forecasts and budgets. Yet, SMBs tend to make small mistakes that often result in a financial loss - or worse - closing up for good. To...
Read More

Will Robots Replace Accountants?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Predicted to Takeover Forrester reported last summer that they estimate that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of US jobs by 2025. Additionally, Gartner...
Read More

How to Improve Your Sales Forecast Accuracy

What is Forecasting and Why is it Important? Forecasting is an essential part of every business as it helps you avoid unforeseen issues and manage your business more efficiently. The sales forecast is especially important, as it serves as the base for your company's...
Read More

4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

What is SaaS? As discussed last week in our Beginner's Guide to Cloud Computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method where businesses purchase software via a Web-based service. The main difference with this method, from purchasing software the traditional way, is...
Read More