Rise of the Robots Feared by Accountants

May 17, 2017 by in category Blog tagged as , , , , , with 0 and 11

Accountants fear that robots could replace 96% of jobs

Rise of the robots image by Pio3 (via Shutterstock).

In a survey by FreeAgent, more than one in five accountants fear the rise of the robots. They also believe that all or some accountancy work could be automated. Image by Pio3 (via Shutterstock).

Back in 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (inspired by Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) foresaw a future where Los Angeles was populated with replicas. Replicas looked like regular people but they were androids. Robots in other words. The year predicted for this? 2019, which is only two years from now.

Only five years from now, the rise of the robots could affect our industry. According to a survey by FreeAgent, Scotland-based developers of accounting software, 2022 could be that critical year, at least for our industry.

In the survey, it stated that:

  • One in five accountants are worried about automation;
  • 62% of accountants think their job will change, thanks to the rise of robots;
  • Four in ten accountants would consider retraining; and that,
  • 96% of accountants believe either all or some accountancy work shall be automated by 2022.

The rise in automation is consistent with the government’s changes to HMRC systems. This approach hasn’t only seen the closure of local tax offices; the Making Tax Digital strategy, and the use of Real Time PAYE have had an impact.

One thing for is the use of robots can never replace personal service. Robots lack any knowledge of local labour markets. They cannot base some of their advice on personal experience. On the other hand, they could help to take the heat out of tax returns. As proven with the HMRC’s online submission service compared with filing postal returns.

With the rise in automation likely by 2022, retraining will come to the fore. 40% of accountants stated they would consider retraining, with software packages and other areas of accounting likely reasons for returning to college. Should Labour win the 2017 General Election, Jeremy Corbyn’s and Angela Rayner’s National Education Service could be a boost. The benefits of which could be seen in 2022, a critical year for automation according to the survey.

What are your opinions on the rise of the robots? Do you fear or embrace a 2022 vision of greater automation? Feel free to comment.

Peach Wilkinson, 17 May 2017.

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