CPAs cite AI, machine learning, and cognitive computing as top hard tech trends

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Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing in audit and tax are the top trends that will impact the accounting and finance world over the next three years, according to research conducted by the Maryland Association of CPAs, the Business Learning Institute, and world-renowned futurist Daniel Burrus.

The research began with Burrus’ “Top 20 Technology-Driven Hard Trends Shaping 2018 and Beyond.” Using Burrus’ annual list as a starting point, MACPA Executive Director Tom Hood asked more than 1,000 CPAs and finance and accounting professionals which of those trends will have the greatest impact on the profession over the next three years. Their answers in rank order are as follows:

  1. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing in audit and tax
  2. Big Data and high-speed data analytics
  3. Adaptive and predictive cybersecurity
  4. Virtualization and automation of processes and services including Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
  5. Mobile apps for business process innovation
  6. Blockchains and cryptocurrency
  7. Advanced cloud computing
  8. Smarter smartphones and tablets drive mobile process automation
  9. Virtualization of desktops, storage, applications, and networking
  10. Social business applications

“These trends highlight enormous, game-changing opportunities in a broad array of applications and industries,” Burrus has said. “As you read through them, look for opportunities for you to leverage them and become a positive disruptor.”

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“One more word of advice,” Hood said. “Don’t stop at the trends impacting your firm or company. Stop and think about how these trends are impacting your clients and customers, both internally and externally. Think about the hard trends facing your industry and your customers’ industries. Read the entire list and think about robotics and 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of Things, location-based services, drones, and wearables.”

These seemingly individual technologies are joining forces to disrupt the accounting and finance profession exponentially. The impact of artificial intelligence is huge, but when combined with blockchain, for instance, its impact increases tenfold … at least. This “10x mindset” will be vital going forward, Hood said.

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