Accounting firms are heading into an era of rapid change, augmentation and uncovering new opportunities due to technology impact of Blockchain & Artificial Intelligence
(PRUnderground) October 30th, 2019
Technology Futurist Ian Khan delivered a keynote on the impact of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies on the Accounting Industry at the 30th Annual Conference for BKR International, a global accounting group of 160 independent accounting and business advisory firms in over 500 offices and 80 countries.
Today the role of accounting firms is changing, and accountants must work deeper with data analytics, automation, and newer technologies such as Blockchain. Blockchain is slowly changing some of the functions that Accounting firms have performed. This includes Audit, taxation, compliance and assurance, all of which have heavily relied on accountants performing checks manually. Technology can now, without an iota of a doubt, guarantee the validity information, the accuracy of financial data, eliminating the need for firms to spend manual time doing this. Instead the augmentation of the expertise that accountants offer is now seen to be gong into a direction where firms provide more strategic and governance role rather than data collection and cleansing.
“Technology is rapidly changing the way accounting firms work and have traditionally worked. This is primarily because new and emerging technologies which go beyond just creating back office efficiency are now changing how information is created, stored and transmitted. Accounting firms have traditionally relied on a method of accounting created over 500 years ago, which for the most part has remained unchanged. This is a renaissance in the accounting profession and firms have an opportunity gain tremendously”, said Ian Khan.
‘This is an opportunity for small and medium firms to start establishing new lines of business, which were previously non-existent. Technology is not only helping provide more efficiency and save business costs but also opening up new doors for accounting firms in the area of Smart contract design, smart contract audit, as examples”, said Khan
Blockchain & Smart Contracts for Accounting Firms
“Accountants are in for a pleasant surprise as some of the opportunities with Blockchain & Smart Contract design are huge” says Khan. Smart Contract are automated and conditional contracts that can execute when certain conditions within the contract are met. The impact of this can be automated payments and reducing the lag between job completion, invoice submission and getting paid. For industries such as transportation and logistics this is pivotal as more than a 1 Billion is trapped in payment delays in the industry waiting to be cleared. Accounting firms serve every industry and as a result the push will also come from the customers where firms will have to provide strategic advice and consulting when it comes to implementing things such as Smart Contracts for other industries. Firms must proactively work right away to build expertise in technology to be able to serve future client needs.
The Convergence of Technologies & the Era of Algorithms
Khan also spoke about the impact of the convergence of Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things on the accounting profession.
“Accounting firms today are facing very fast moving changes. These are predominantly happening because their customers are changing the way they need accounting services. Today you can complete your taxes online in less than 5 minutes whereas a few years ago you needed accountants to do that for you. In more technologically advanced countries like Estonia, and other places across the world in Europe & Asia, your interaction with traditional accounting has shifted dramatically. Companies and individuals now prefer automation and higher efficiency when it comes to managing their finances, and this is affecting accounting firms”, said Khan.
The Big Four Industry Domination
Accounting today is mostly dominated by the Big 4, a group of large accounting firms consisting of Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PWC. “The Big four accounting groups are heavily spending on technology and investing in cutting edge new generation portfolios of Blockchain, AI and others. This significantly puts them ahead of the game and gives then the added advantage of being able to address future customer needs. Unless Small and medium sized firms do not strategize about how to fight this onslaught, the next few years may prove to be very trying”, said Khan.
In recent days SoftBank will work together with IBM to develop cross-carrier blockchain solutions and Deloitte, a big four audit fir, will integrate privacy technology developed by technologystartup QEDIT into its qualification information blockchain platform Eduscrypt. Both of these have indirect implications on the Accounting industry,
Future Readiness Score
Ian Khan also launched the Future Readiness Score for accounting firms , helping firms understand where they stand with respect to future readiness while taking into consideration 8 critical business areas. These comprise of Engagement, Learning, People, Accountability, Partnerships, Culture, Execution and Technology. The Future Readiness Score, a management level intervention tool that categorizes a firm into a category band through a score system, and also provides guidance and recommendations on how to build the firms strengths in these core areas.
About Ian Khan
Ian Khan is a CNN featured Technology Futurist, 3 times TEDx Speaker, Director of highly acclaimed documentary film “Blockchain City”, (now available on Amazon Prime Video) Bestselling author of “7 Axioms of Value Creation”, and contributor to many publications including McGraw Hill and Forbes. He is also a founding member of the Government Experience (GX) initiative by the Prime Minister’s Office, UAE.
Ian is also the creator of the Future Readiness Score (FRS), a KPI he developed to help organizations counter disruption and become efficient, impactful and relevant in the future. Ian works with Private and Public sector organizations worldwide and is a leading thinker and industry advocate. Ian is heavily involved in the accounting industy and has worked with several top 10 accounting groups including BKR, PKF, Inpact, DFK and others.
For more information please visit www.IanKhan.com
As one of the top 10 global accounting associations, BKR International represents the combined strength of more than 160 independent accounting and business advisory firms in over 500 offices and 80 countries. Large enough to offer a full range of services, yet small enough to provide personal service and connections, BKR member firms are committed to delivering superior client service throughout the world.
For more information please visit www.BKR.com
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