Buried Under Mountains of Work: A Call to Action for a Struggling Accounting Profession


In the face of mounting workloads, technological fragmentation, and a talent shortage, the accounting profession is at a critical juncture. Generative AI offers promise in alleviating burdens, enhancing accuracy, and fostering innovation. However, challenges such as system integration and talent retention persist. Embracing technological advancements is imperative for ensuring the sustainability and efficiency of accounting teams.

Accounting thrives on precision and efficiency.

Scratch that: Accounting cannot operate without precision and efficiency.

The unsung heroes behind the scenes in every business, accountants ensure the smooth operation of this intricate system. But that doesn’t make things easy. Today, the profession faces a potentially existential crisis. Mounting workloads, fragmented technology, the relentless pressure for accuracy, and fewer professionals entering the industry are pushing accountants — and their businesses — to their breaking points.

But amidst these challenges lies an opportunity for innovation. Here at FloQast, we believe that generative artificial intelligence (AI) can be the game-changing tool that accounting teams need to alleviate these growing burdens. In the near future, accounting will undergo an automation evolution, with AI playing a pivotal role in revolutionizing various aspects of financial management, including flux analytics, anomaly detection, financial statement preparation, and technical accounting research.

While these advancements promise to enhance efficiency and accuracy, they also present new potential complexities for teams, such as systems integration, process management, and compliance. In this blog, we’ll explore how generative AI can empower accounting teams to overcome these obstacles and thrive in the digital age. 

An Evolving Landscape

With the profession at a crossroads, leaders need to be cognizant of the ways in which their teams are struggling, how to support them, and why it’s time to consider new ways of working for themselves to meet soaring demands.

The Burden of Accuracy in a High-Wire Act

In the high-stakes world of finance, even a single misstep can have catastrophic consequences. 

Accountants carry the weight of ensuring flawless accuracy in their calculations and reporting. This constant pressure to be perfect, combined with the ever-increasing complexity of financial regulations, fuels feelings of stress and anxiety, leading to a concerning rise in accountant burnout.

By layering generative AI on existing workflows, accounting teams can automate anomaly detection and ensure data integrity, while also eliminating much of the manual burden associated with the fluctuation analysis process, which many teams run only sporadically due to how time intensive it can be.

Drowning in Deadlines and Data

Imagine an accountant perpetually battling a tidal wave of deadlines. The month-and-year-end Closes, audits, and myriad recurring processes pile up relentlessly, demanding meticulous attention to detail with no room for error. 

This relentless pressure is further amplified by the need to navigate a fragmented landscape of disparate software systems. These systems create data silos and hinder information flow, making it difficult to gain a holistic view of a company’s financial health.

With AI, accounting teams can ensure better — and richer connections — between their resources, automating tasks like data entry or refreshes while adding a further layer of stability to maintain system integrations. Additionally, the information provided by ERPs — the bedrock of any accounting system — will include more metadata from underlying support (cleaner data), offering teams more information to glean meaningful insights. 

A Looming Talent Shortage

There’s really no other way to put it: A concerning decline in the number of students pursuing accounting degrees should sound as scary as it does. This, coupled with an aging workforce nearing retirement, paints a worrying picture.

 A talent shortage could lead to delays in critical financial tasks, inaccurate financial reporting, aand missed opportunities for businesses of all sizes.

AI holds promise in addressing the challenges within the accounting industry by streamlining repetitive tasks like data entry and integration, allowing accountants to prioritize strategic initiatives. Additionally, AI’s capabilities in flux analytics, anomaly detection, and financial statement preparation can improve accuracy and efficiency, reducing the need for extensive manual review. As a result, accounting teams can make better use of existing resources, easing the strain caused by talent shortages and fostering a more sustainable work environment. 

Of course, the next step is rebranding the profession to appeal to younger generations. First things first, though.

A Call to Action: Embracing Change 

The challenges facing accountants necessitate immediate action. Businesses must prioritize the well-being and efficiency of their accounting teams. The answer may lie in embracing technological advancements.

Technology as a Potential Lifeline

The rapid evolution of technology offers a glimmer of hope. New tools and solutions have the potential to revolutionize the way accounting is done. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) for data analysis and automation, as well as anomaly detection, has the potential the profession needs, promising to streamline workflows, improve accuracy, and free up accountants for more strategic tasks. But is that technology ready now? Can business rely on it yet? If it’s still too early to tell, we’ll know soon enough. 

The Time for Action is Now

Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the mounting pressure on their accounting teams. A proactive approach is essential to ensure the long-term sustainability of the profession. By acknowledging the challenges and actively exploring technological solutions, businesses can empower their accounting teams and navigate future uncertainties. The well-being and efficiency of your accounting team are not just about numbers; they are about the future financial health of your entire organization.