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Automation coming in the Future

Automate“No, they hand key that in”….

“No, that is manually input.”

“No, that’s also keyed in.”

I was going over the result of the testing with my boss and as I went through each section, she kept asking how the field folks pull in the data. Each time I had to say that it was manually entered. Finally she stopped and looked at me with a disgusted look on her face, if saying in her head, “They need to get out of the dark ages.”

I acknowledged that it was archaic but I also told her that not everybody knows how to set up Excel and with the funky way OneSite downloads data, you really have to have some creativity to figure out how to get the data out of the download. OneSite’s download format really pushes the limits on creativity and problem solving with their data lying in different columns and with lots of odd spaces lying amongst the data.

It takes an uncommon skill to pull out that data.

But the sad thing is: the work can be automated, and therefore, somebody in the future will automate that portion of the job away.

The fact that I have been automating tasks in every finance/accounting position that I have held means that the finance/accounting jobs will be automated away in the future. I have met very few finance/accounting personnel who are not hand keying in information into their spreadsheet. For whatever reason, they are lacking the inclination to improve their workflow. I’ve always done well because I have managed to do my work faster and more accurately and to produce more interesting stuff, simply because I have automated a large portion of my work.

Tom Hood, apparently a well-known accountant (I have never heard of him except through Slideshare), talks about the necessity of working with the business to solve business issues instead of nose down to the accounting grind. However, I thought working with the business has always been part of their job; his advice kind of struck me as far too little and too late. Maybe I misunderstand him.

Anyway, the time is fast coming when AI will sweep everything away. We have to come up with something else to do.


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