Five technologies you need to explore to be employable
What seems like a novelty today will be a basic part of your job tomorrow. The earlier you adopt new tech, the sharper your competitive edge.
Keeping up with change isn’t optional.
From the ancient world’s abacus to the clunky word processors of the 80s, we’ve always relied on technology to make accounting a little easier.
For instance, how would you like to create spreadsheets without Excel? We take it for granted now, but not long ago it was revolutionary.
Now we’re in the age of interconnected devices and artificial intelligence. To stay relevant in our increasingly automated world, you need to know the latest digital disruptions. Whether you’re seeking your first job or passing mid-career, demonstrating your knowledge about these tools will make an impression at your next interview or evaluation.
1. The Internet of Things (IoT)
We usually associate IoT with consumers and their smart devices. For example, your phone automatically syncing with your car, your tablet and even your home thermostat.
But IoT is any system of devices that independently communicate with one another. The ability to remotely monitor this relay of data has countless advisory and maintenance applications. Imagine performing an audit for a client whose every transaction has been recorded and verified in real-time across a range of devices.
In time, IoT may even render audits obsolete.
The number of interconnected devices will reach 125 billion in the next decade, making IoT too ubiquitous to ignore.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Like IoT, AI is a high-tech innovation that you already rely on. In broad terms, AI is a set of algorithms programmed to perform a specific task. Whether the AI automates bookkeeping, detects fraud or evaluates investment options, it all works the same way: You input data, and the AI optimizes it.
Advances in AI have fueled anxieties about machines replacing human workers. But AI can only do what it’s told, so you won’t compete against computers — you’ll compete against other finance professionals who have learned to use AI to their advantage. Be one of them.
3. Machine learning
Machine learning is the field of AI that focusses on computers teaching themselves via inductive reasoning.
In other words, instead of relying on human input to make any changes, machines adapt their algorithms based on the data they process. This is how Netflix knows to recommend fewer rom-coms and more period dramas, based on your viewing history.
Because machine learning is all about identifying and applying patterns, it holds tremendous potential for management accountants and auditors. But while machine learning’s automated analysis and modelling are fast and accurate, someone who understands machine learning and accounting must monitor and interpret the results — someone like you.
4. Deep learning
A subset of machine learning, deep learning uses artificial neural networks to replicate how the brain works. Instead of only identifying basic patterns, deep learning can recognize complex relationships. This allows a computer to teach itself without any supervision, making associations even a human might miss.
Deep learning processes vast amounts of information to improve the accuracy of its predictions. This has big ramifications for hedge fund trading in particular, but applying the burgeoning technology will require the oversight of forward-thinking finance professionals.
5. Natural language processing (NLP)
People aren’t always direct and concise with their language, but computers need precise commands. NLP teaches machines how to analyze natural human speech, text, images and other forms of communication, translating human expression into computer code.
NLP enables Alexa to parse your questions and provide snappy answers, and it will allow you to converse with the tax preparation software of tomorrow. And by combining NLP with the aforementioned technologies, you can mine financial documents, calculate outcomes and improve methodologies.
6. Don’t sleep on new developments.
Figuring out new technologies can be daunting, but remember that they all have the same goal: To improve your work. Reducing the human element from dense data entry and complex calculations also reduce the likelihood of human error.
With all the opportunities these technologies present, employers and clients want candidates who are excited to implement them. Are you ready?
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