Accounting & Auditing | Business and Industry | Business Strategy | Technology

New technologies are creating a new CPA

Do you remember a time when you had to have a dime, or a quarter, to call someone while you were running errands?

How about when you had to walk into a library, pull a card out from the card catalog, and take it to the librarian’s desk to ensure the copy was in the building?

Or when you had to look up facts in an encyclopedia instead of going online and heading to (not a real site, by the way — you can click on the link if you don’t believe me).

Whether you remember that trip down memory lane or not, the point is this: All of these memories have changed drastically over time.

Today, almost everyone has a phone at their fingertips at all times. You no longer have to go to the card catalog to look up a resource at the library. Heck, most of the time you don’t have to go to the library at all, thanks to e-books that can be checked out instantly.

And encyclopedias? They’re so 1980s, boomer. Thanks to Google, kids don’t know the pain we knew of waiting a few days to get the one book we needed to complete a research paper.

If you’ve never known that pain, consider yourself lucky. If you have, consider yourself lucky to have had the joy of adapting to technology and automation.

That is exactly what you have done over the years as new technology was paraded in front of you.

Adapted to automation.

This thought has crossed the mind of many employees and business owners as automation has been introduced and taken over some jobs completely.

Think about these jobs that have been lost due to automation:

  • Bowling pinsetter
  • Switchboard operator
  • Lamplighters
  • Ice cutters

Now those are all jobs way before our time, so let’s take a look at manufacturing. This is an industry that has faced automation for decades. Since 1980, 20 million jobs have been replaced by automation in the manufacturing industry alone, according to this article from Econ Log.

Automation has changed the lives of many, in both good and bad ways.

Here’s another, more recent example. This article from AccountingWEB references travel agents as an example of a job that was popular before the Internet and automation were readily available.

Before everyone had a computer in the palm of their hand.

Before information was produced within seconds.

This job is not extinct … yet.

Those who do this job have had to rethink the way they approach their job.

They have had to approach the services they offer.

They have had to change the markets they serve.

They have had to change a lot to be able to compete with automation.

The same can be said of the accounting and finance profession.

The AccountingWEB article shares that bookkeeping is one of the services that are viewed to be in danger of extinction due to automation. The ability of software these days to update on its own and sync with online bank transactions takes away the need for someone to manually enter the information.

That means the role of the CPA is also changing.

The role of a CPA is expected to be more analytical and predictive than reporting what happened in the past.

The future of the CPA involves learning how to pivot and embrace changing technology and show clients how they can implement new technologies, use them, and utilize their expertise to guide and create a financial story that allows them to reach their goals.

The bright side of automation is that you are now able to serve more clients without spending more hours in the details. Automation takes care of the details. You guide your clients in reaching their goals.

Are you embracing automation in your practice and using it to your benefit?


Sarah Hanford