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Understanding Modern Accounting: AI vs. Machine Learning

by | Jan 29, 2018

Understanding Modern Accounting: AI vs. Machine Learning

Anyone who follows the field of accounting has encountered the terms AI and machine learning a lot in recent years. However, in spite of the discussion swirling around these subjects there is widespread confusion about exactly what they mean and how they complement each other.

It is important for all modern accountants to understand the technologies that are transforming the industry. They may be novel assets now but they will soon be so ubiquitous that they’re considered mission-critical. This quick overview is designed to get you up to speed.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a catch-all term that describes any technology capable of operating independently. Rudimentary versions of this have existed for decades, including in accounting in the form of automated spreadsheets etc. In the last decade, however, AI has become much smarter and much more capable as a result.

Modern AI is able to take on much larger and more diverse workloads. It is fluent in complex accounting methods and operates with much greater speed and accuracy than any human professional. In short, AI is more able to learn that it has ever been before. The issue is teaching it everything it needs to know.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is the ability of technology to learn and get smarter. Said differently, think of AI as the student and machine learning as the teacher. AI becomes steadily more effective because machine learning expands on the scope of its ability and understanding.

Machine learning works by scouring data sets for trends and patterns while also monitoring user behaviors to learn principles and practices. Best-in-class solutions start out smart and then gain even more insights without requiring extra input from the user.

Why is Tech Important to Accounting?

AI and machine learning are related if not quite identical technologies. However, both are designed to help accounting departments take a better approach to data management. AI automates tasks like auditing that require tons of human effort. Machine learning ensures that automation is effective, accurate, and accelerated.

Now that accounting departments are tasked with managing huge amounts of data, reaching faster deadlines, eliminating all errors, and contributing to strategic planning it’s time to embrace new approaches. Even the most talented team is not equipped to keep up with current demands.

The smarter solution is to outsource heavy workloads to AI and machine learning while refocusing human efforts on more sensitive tasks. Don’t think of technology as a way to replace accountants. Think of it as a way to maximize the abilities and efforts of accountants.

If you’re ready to embrace and implement the best of today’s accounting technologies, have a conversion with the experts at InCloud360.