3E Accounting Prepares for the Role of Future Accountant
With technological advancements and a drive-in Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption, the role of an accountant is never like before. Tedious data entry work was what accountants used to do, however, machines are expected to replace these roles in the near future. Envisioning the importance of technology, back in 2012, 3E Accounting Founder Lawrence Chai set up IT Solution, a technology company under 3E Accounting to provide a comprehensive range of IT solutions and digital marketing to complement the professional services offered to its clients as well as forming the firm’s Digital Research and Development (DR&D) team for leading development in new technological growth areas like robotics business automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Evolving Role of Accountant
In the past, accountants are just expected to collect, retrieve, and manipulate data and information, reconciling data across different worksheets, and making decisions based on limited information. Presently, accountants are expected to adapt to a new role, to possess evolving skillsets including using automation for more powerful insights, reducing basic repetitive work and leveraging on communication technologies to make a greater impact. In a world of technology, the role of accountants changes from doing basic routine work to using technology for greater value creation.
The Shift in Expectation for Demand of Skills and Competencies
The trend of replacing humans with machines have made a variety of jobs become increasingly redundant, including accountants. To stay relevant and valuable, accountants need to adapt and upgrade their skills. With the increasing demand for data analytics, big data specialists, digital transformation specialists, and information technology services, accountants are able to make use of these opportunities with the behaviours and competencies possessed by them that overlap with these in-demand roles. The important competencies to stay relevant for accountants include but are not limited to business acumen, behavioural competence, digital acumen and communication.
The Practicality of 3E’s Robotics Accounting
To aid in the evolving role of accountants, 3E Accounting’s DR&D team has started developing robots to automate various processes to replace traditional manual work done by humans. 3E Accounting’s DR&D team has completed the development of Financial Report Robot and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Robot and is currently in the process of completing a Tax Robot and Bookkeeping Robot with the Tax Robot officially launching in 2021 and the Bookkeeping Robot targeted to complete by 2022.
With the customized RPA robot, repetitive tasks involving retrieving data and forms is automated, and the process is programmed to be effectively accurate in selecting the correct data such as the correct Year of Assessment and solving Captcha without any human intervention. The program is also able to help 3E Accounting obtain the clients’ Document Identification Number (DIN) automatically. The Financial Report robot is programmed to pick up data in different formats and analyze, learn and verify the data to generate financial statements.
The Tax robot and Bookkeeping robot is currently under development but the expected functions have been laid out. The Tax robot is expected to perform AI tasks including automation of the preparation of Tax Computation and Form C-S/ C in accordance with Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) rules of taxation while the Bookkeeping robot will utilize Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and Machine Learning technology to convert digital documents like scanned sales invoices to editable and searchable financial accounts and data, then automatically record them as financial journal entries that are in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) presentation and disclosure.
Using the developed robots to help reduce 3E’s accountants’ workload, the accountants no longer need to perform basic tasks like retrieving and manipulating data but are able to make use of the robots to direct their focus to value creation activities like financial advisory work instead. For instance, as there is no need for 3E’s accountants to generate the financial statements after the deployment of the Financial Report robot, 3E’s accountants can focus on analyzing data to discover ways for clients to improve their business. The development of robots save up to 90% of time spent on tasks and with these AI technologies, a 99% increase in the firm’s productivity is expected. Furthermore, 3E’s accountants are now able to leverage automation to derive deeper insights.
3E Accounting Going Fully Digital
In just 15 months since the 3E’s DR&D team was formed, the team successfully completed the digital transformation of 3E Accounting. Services offered by 3E Accounting including accounting can be processed fully digitally. Using cloud and automation solutions, 3E Accounting can go 100% paperless and digital, increasing a firm’s productivity by at least 50%. By going fully digital, 3E Accounting hones accountants’ digital skills which is an essential skill in the profession today.