New data from cloud accounting software FreeAgent shows accountants are at odds with AI despite three-quarters (76%) of accountants and bookkeepers agreeing that some accountancy and bookkeeping work will be automated in the next five years.

The results show contention over how AI will impact accountants’ and bookkeepers’ roles in the immediate future with just under half (46%) of respondents believing that they will broadly be doing the same day-to-day tasks at work in five years whereas 16% believe that almost all or most of their work will be automated in the next five years.

The survey which highlights the prevailing attitudes of accountants and bookkeepers regarding the future of accounting services in the age of automatisation and digitisation, goes on to show an appetite for using AI within accountancy and bookkeeping work for repetitive tasks.

Two-thirds of respondents (66.6%) want AI to help with chasing clients for missing data and preventing clients from entering information incorrectly or in the wrong category. In terms of data collection, over half (53.7%) of respondents would like to use AI for accurately auto-reconciling data in clients’ accounts and 40.6% want to use it for the pre-analysis of new clients’ accounts.

Despite the evident appetite for AI in monotonous tasks, only 3.8% of accountants and bookkeepers would let a robot deal with their clients, highlighting the importance of the personal touch in the accounting/bookkeeping profession.

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