Several courses in the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Accounting program at Fitchburg State University focus on technology. The program examines management information systems (MIS), accounting information systems and emerging changes in accounting technology in depth. These studies are pertinent to current issues in accounting. According to Fortune, understanding and incorporating new technologies into the usual financial tasks is more important than ever for accounting leaders.
However, integrating emerging technologies is a challenge for today’s accounting professionals. Still, the capabilities of innovative technologies can vastly improve the efficiency and accuracy of accounting practices while providing timely, actionable insight into financial decision-making and planning. As a result, learning how to harness these technologies to positively impact business outcomes has become necessary for present and future accounting leaders.
What Innovations in Technology Are Reshaping the Field of Accounting?
In a Forbes article, PLANERGY CEO Michael Higgins highlights how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and virtual reality have transformed accounting functions
AI makes a high degree of robotic process automation (RPA) possible. AI-driven software can perform routine, repetitive accounting tasks like data entry and data cleaning at inhuman speeds. Advanced AI technologies like machine learning (ML) enable the unprecedentedly efficient collection, organization and analysis of aggregated big data from disparate sources to drive RPA.
Cloud-based accounting software can centralize financial data management and accounting process automation, standardizing data organization and analysis across business functions. This streamlining facilitates access to and sharing of quality data, clear communication and remote collaboration.
Leveraging such technologies, cloud-based accounting software can handle increasingly complex tasks, from taxes to payroll tasks. Integration solutions enable seamless interfacing, accurate data flow and cross-functional collaboration between accounting software and other essential information systems. These include strategies focused on everything from enterprise resource planning (ERP) to customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management to legacy MIS.
While these technological advancements are digital, accountants must still deal with undigitized materials like employees’ expenses receipts, printed vendor invoices and volumes of old paperwork to archive. Optical character recognition (OCR) software can scan, recognize and digitize information from printed materials, PDFs, photos and even handwritten documents. Technology tools can drastically reduce the time accountants spend manually entering data.
Furthermore, business intelligence (BI) tools can render complex analysis into usable, easily understandable forms for users. Accountants use these tools to draw their own insights as well as streamline financial data reporting and help translate it into real-time insight for the decision-making team.
How Do Innovative Technologies Impact Businesses and Accounting?
These technologies can dramatically increase the speed and precision of basic and advanced accounting practices. AI and BI tools can provide a broad and precise insights into the financial state of a business, improving projections and forecasting.
Cloud-based integration solutions standardize financial data collection, dissemination and control across information systems and remote work environments. Remote, evidence-based interdepartmental collaboration engenders company culture- and goal-alignment, driving positive organization-wide outcomes.
The potential benefits of such technologies for businesses are straightforward. However, technology’s ability to automate and improve many accounting tasks and processes have made many wonder if the need for accounting professionals will diminish. Experts assert that changes in technology will only advance the accounting profession. Oracle notes that “technology will help push the accounting and finance department from reactionary and transactional to proactive and analytical.”
Technology allows the accountant to be high-level and cross-functional, integral to helping organizations explore insights, collaborate and take advantage of opportunities for improvement and optimization. Higgins explains that collaborative accountants can “leverage financial data to drive innovation, build more resilient and agile supply chains and develop business management plans that promote growth while ensuring continuity.”
Technology is sure to be an increasingly important component of accounting. Studying emerging technologies that impact modern accounting through programs like Fitchburg State’s MBA in accounting can prepare graduates to stay ahead of this curve. With in-depth knowledge of such technologies, accounting professionals lead technology integration, innovation and advancements in the field.