BILL.COM BLOG

How AI Enhances Your Accounting Experience

AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) detects colorectal cancer in seconds. An AI program named Shelley writes horror stories. And in October, a robot won citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

The applications of AI seem limitless, and will eventually impact almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. So why not tumble down this proverbial rabbit hole together?

Starting with our favorite subject: Accounting.

Accounting and AI

What could AI possibly have to do with accounting? Well...a lot, actually. As it turns out, Accounting firms are already working on the application of artificial intelligence in financial services. H&R Block tax professionals used IBM Watson to analyze different filing scenarios and deliver the best options. EY has plans for drones to count stock in warehouses. And believe us—the convergence of accounting and AI will continue to grow, especially as technology evolves.

What do AI accounting services look like?

Don’t worry! Your accountant won’t be replaced by robots next year. Or even the next decade. In the near future, AI will support accounting through these three key functions:

  • Data analyzation
  • Automation
  • Security

Now on to the top business benefits we see developing from the cognitive computing trend!

Speed

With vast processing power, machine learning algorithms, and more, AI gets work done quickly. Financial reports will take a fraction of the time to produce and share, giving you greater insight into your financial performance. Onboarding to a new accounting firm will be accomplished in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks. Even better—this information will be based on real-time activities.

Greater accuracy

Mistakes slip into the accounting process one way or another. Perhaps numbers in amounts are transposed. Or an ACH transfer lands in your account without an invoice number or clear clues of reconciling it with one (or two, or three.) Errors like this typically lead to massive headaches and inconsistent cash flow. And ultimately your data is incorrect until these problems are found and fixed. AI has the potential to take issues like this, apply machine-based learning to discern an answer, rectify them, or escalate them to a human reviewer.

Fraud prevention

With AI’s ability to quickly process, analyze, and understand data, it stands to reason that fraud prevention efforts will improve. It could identify potential internal theft as it happens and flag it for your review (or investigate/interrogate on its own.) It could verify the authenticity of payment recipients before the money goes out the door.

Communications

You have a presentation coming up for potential investors. You turn to your voice-activated virtual assistant, and it provides you with not only the best data points to share but also tips on how to present the data to increase interest. How’s that for supporting communications?

And beyond applications like the above, AI will let you choose what type of communications work for you—a chatbot, voice interface, and more.

Advisory-level services

With AI handling more of the transactional side of work, this frees up your accountant to work on an advisory level. Conversations move from “Don’t forget to authorize that payment” to “Let’s talk about your pricing strategy, improvements, and the impact on your financial performance.”

Your accountant moves to a trusted partner and advisor, or even virtual CFO—a professional guiding the financial security and performance of your company.

AI is the newest trend sweeping FinTech nation. And, we predict, with the combination of AI and accounting, businesses will be the ultimate winner.

Intrigued by AI in the accounting space? Obviously, we are too. Let's continue the conversation on social—tweet us @billcom!

Kate Wilson
Social Media Manager, Bill.com
Kate is in charge of all things social at Bill.com. When she's not writing every type of content imaginable, she's drinking strong coffee and debating the use of the Oxford comma with her coworkers.