Compared to most other industries, accounting hasn\u2019t seen much in the way of innovation over the years. But this could all change soon with the adoption of automated technologies.\r\n\r\nPreviously confined to the likes of the manufacturing sector, I\u2019m now seeing automation start to benefit many other industries by aiding repetitive and rules-based functions \u2013 as well as those that are time critical, prone to error or involve large volumes of data.\r\n\r\nCritics may see automated solutions as the villain, with some claiming they will render accountants\u2019 roles obsolete. However, far from being the enemy, I believe automation is essential to the future of accounting.\r\n\r\nPeople are scared of automation because they think it is going to replace their job, but the technology has actually created more jobs. Most of the time, the tasks that are becoming automated are those people don\u2019t really want to do anyway.\r\n\r\nLess room for error\r\n\r\nUnlike manual accounting, which is time-consuming and prone to human error, automation replaces time-intensive and low-value accounting tasks \u2013 leaving more time for accountants to concentrate on the service aspect of the business and ways to increase revenue.\r\n\r\nFrom past experience, automation minimises opportunities for error. It can also help emancipate accountants from mundane work; instead, giving them more responsibility and the opportunity to carry out meaningful analytic work. This then translates into increased employee happiness and a better, more agile workplace culture \u2013 which, in turn, means significant progress can be seen in the quality and level of output.\r\n\r\nCustomer relations are also improved thanks to automation \u2013 as it frees up more time for accountants to focus on the tasks that require human input and interaction, rather than just crunching numbers behind a desk.\r\n\r\nShifting mindsets\r\n\r\nAlthough automation and other new technologies are developing faster than ever before, I feel the accounting industry has generally found embracing them a challenge. Accountancy is an age-old business and many professionals may, understandably, feel apprehensive about changing their processes after so long or be nervous about the perceived security risks associated with automation. However, I truly believe accounting firms need to shift their mindset and start making use of automation if they want to stay ahead of the game.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s going to happen anyway so accounting businesses should embrace and invest in automation to avoid being left behind. As for security concerns, I think these are unfounded. Cyber security breaches are down to human error, not technology \u2013 so because automation eliminates the human aspect, it actually offers accountants a better opportunity to keep their systems and client data safe.\r\n\r\nI often find that one of the biggest barriers to automation is getting employees on board. But once they realise the benefits of having more time to focus on meaningful work \u2013 and spending less time carrying out mundane manual tasks \u2013 they\u2019ll soon be keen to adopt automated technologies.\r\n\r\nIf technology continues to develop at the rate it is currently, I think manual data entry will soon become a thing of the past. As such, forward-thinking accountants will be those who utilise the technology available to them to spend more time with their clients and put more energy into analysing data and offering useful insights. In turn, this will place accounting firms in a much better position to offer a high-quality and more efficient service to their\r\nclients.