October 20, 2017
The automatization process and the future of accounting

he robotisation of bookkeeping companies operating in Lithuania is inevitable. It is an ongoing process, to which companies must adapt and exploit the opportunities offered.

Not only is Nordgain interested in this area, we have been installing robots in our systems for some time now. At the moment, we are introducing a new system that will no longer have any paper accounting documents. The system combines several functions: document management, administration, archiving, payroll calculation, administration of personnel records, and linking to other systems that interact with each other. All this is linked to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Most of the communication with clients takes place through this system: the data is received, employees of the enterprises submit applications through the system, they see the information they provide. Everything is in one place, there is no duplication or triplication of functions.

Robotisation, or the automation of certain processes, will replace and change the accounting profession, its daily activities and profile. We do not yet know what the profession will become in the future, but the change is in progress. One thing is clear: the traditional image of an accountant loaded with documents is already a thing of the past. Robotics is one of the reasons why accountants are increasingly forced to agree on standards to which accounting should be conducted. The result of this standardisation is the simple, clear and expeditious provision of the accounting service. The results can be easily presented and compared to another company’s financials.

If a company providing accounting services wants to be competitive in local and foreign markets, it must follow global trends. It is currently very easy to transfer accounting work (at least most of it) to another country, or another continent. So, whether you like it or not, you have to work more efficiently and offer customers new opportunities.

Robots, or in other words, programs that process data, make the work of an accountant easier and more interesting, as they take over the least interesting part of the daily work, manual data capture. One of the main and most up-to-date tasks of these programs is the processing of digital documents (scanned documents, electronic invoices, bank statements). Accountants no longer input data manually; the job has been given to robots.

The problem is that these programs cannot work completely independently: people still have to look for errors. For example, mixing ‘o’ and ‘zero’, a small ‘i’ and a capital ‘I’, etc. However, robots have an inherent ability to learn, and databases are becoming more global, so it is only a matter of time when people will no longer need to process such basic information. Robot learning is still hampered by mandatory data protection, since confidential corporate data is processed. Suppose one program receives bills from a single source, it already knows where the data it needs to process is placed, and therefore no errors occur. However, on receiving an invoice from an unknown source, it may make a mistake in processing the data. Sharing knowledge with each other would reduce the amount of automatic document processing. This often requires more sophisticated technical solutions, and, of course, the confidentiality of the data processed must be ensured.

A standardisation process is happening in Lithuania and in other countries. For example, the main focus of the International Financial Reporting Standards is to harmonise financial reporting standards between countries. Data integration takes place with state institutions. In Lithuania, we have already partially installed the i.MAS system. Similar processes are taking place in Portugal, Luxembourg, France, Poland, Austria and Norway.

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