Written by Plate IQ account executive Nick Geraghty, some thoughts on how artificial intelligence will impact bookkeepers and accountants:
When I first started working at Plate IQ, I was nervous. It wasn’t the type of nervousness you get going for your biannual cleaning at the dentist, or returning to your illegally parked car in hopes you haven’t been ticketed. It was more of a nervous excitement. Similar to the feeling you have before a first date or the night before Christmas. I was entering a new field. New people, new terminology, new responsibilities. I was a tad overwhelmed. Learning different acronyms, various integrations, how to cold call, the whole nine. Coming straight from construction, I was as green as you could be.
Being new to sales, I thought the best way to spend my time was learning everything I could about the product. Anytime I was stumped by a question or learned something new about the platform, I made sure to write it down and remember the answer for the future. I wanted to be able to handle any objection thrown my way with the knowledge I’d amassed. With most questions being about integration types and potential product capabilities, the answers were typically cut and dry. “Yes, we can do that… here’s how… Does that make sense?” or “Great question! While we don’t currently have that capability, (probably because this is the first time we’ve heard that request) here’s another option… Does that work?” Easy answer, closing question.
There was only one question that left me without an easy answer:
“Nick, is this solution going to take my job?”
Yesterday on the train home, I found a great article on AccountingToday.comby Daniel Hood that finally gave me the answer. It made so much sense to me that I’m going to quote from it liberally here, but the credit for those quote belong to Hood. To sum up the article and answer the above question in as few words as possible:
“Only if you let it.”
I’m not here to sell something that’s going to put accountants out of a job and on the street. I have too heavy a conscience to do that. However, I will sell you a powerful that you can leverage to build your career in the restaurant/hospitality industry. Do you want to be a potentially replaceable bookkeeper? Or an irreplaceable asset? Why spend hours assigning GL codes, sifting through filing cabinets and reconciling statements when you could have it done in a quarter of the time? Not to mention, you’ll have enough analytics at your disposal to provide the CFO/COO/Chef with a plan to cut food costs by 4% next month.
“Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be a huge game-changer for the accounting profession, as it will reduce the effort spent on coding transactions and unlock time for accountants to become true business advisors,” said Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury.
You can sit at your desk doing manual data entry all day, everyday. Sifting through page after page… extracting the data… adding the GL codes… and entering it into some accounting platform. But wouldn’t your time be more valuable to you and your employer if you embraced a new technology to do the monotonous tasks and spent your time creating valuable reports? Shedding light on once unnoticed price changes? Finding ways to cut expenses/food costs? Using analytics to negotiate better terms with your vendors? Use this as an opportunity to level-up your bookkeeping or accounting career by driving your company forward rather than being bogged down in busywork! As Bob Berchtold, the host of “ The Abacus Show” podcast said:
“Technology won’t replace accountants. It will just make the people who know how to use it 10 times more efficient than those who can’t… Learning how to use new technologies before anyone else will be a huge competitive advantage in the profession. Anyone who isn’t willing to learn and grow over their entire career will be left behind.”
Moral of the story: Don’t get stuck in the past. Are you squinting for hours on end on sunny days? Are you still using the “cash only” toll lane? I’m willing to bet you aren’t still using a flip phone… Embrace change. Use it advantageously. Don’t be fearful of it. I’m not here to take your job. I’m here to help you create a career.
Come check out what we can do at Plate IQ. Ask for Nick, I’ll be happy to show you the ropes. You’ll never look at restaurant bookkeeping the same again. Our technology isn’t going anywhere, and I don’t want you to either.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on September 27, 2017.