The Impact of Digital and Artificial Intelligence on Audit and Finance Professionals

We live in an age of overwhelming information and data. The digitisation of every aspect of our life has facilitated many things, but complicated others. The fact that we can now record and measure everything, and store it for – potentially – eternity, created the need for a new form of algorithm. This algorithm would be able to successfully sift through billions of data records, notice patterns, learn from them, be able to categorise them and call them at will. It would be able to detect wrong from right, sort by query, date or other given properties, filter and rearrange. It would, in essence, do anything a human being would be able to do – only across millions of points and in a split second. Thus, Artificial Intelligence is born.

Artificial Intelligence is not simply an algorithm that can learn or mine data, however. It is capable of other feats, typical of a human being, such as face, image and voice recognition, as well as sentiment analysis. An advanced AI would be able to scan a photo and tell you whether the person was happy or not. As one can imagine, this has far-reaching implications, which go beyond scanning a photo. In the sphere of accounting and auditing, the cards it brings to the table are revolutionary. Not only would it change auditing, it will also have a significant impact on how professionals deal with cryptocurrencies and crpto-assets.

Due to its advanced and efficient systems, AI can initially code accounting entries and, thanks to its pattern recognition, immediately identify fraudulent activities and outliers. AI can also assimilate and make sense of unstructured data like social media and emails. It can, if given enough practice, be vastly more precise and quick than a human being. However, there are still risks involved. Cyber attacks have become more widespread and as advanced as the new tools they are trying to break. Despite the fact that a recent survey showed that by 2025, 30% of every corporate audit will be done by AI (World Economic Forum), 85% of AI projects through 2020 (Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey) will still result in erroneous outcomes because of bias in the data. This ensure that, although AI will facilitate and speed up the process, a pair of human eyes will, in all probability, still be essential to the smoothness and accuracy of auditing reports.

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