IMA Publishes Report On The Global Impact Of AI On Accounting And Finance Professionals

IMA Publishes Report On The Global Impact Of AI On Accounting And Finance Professionals

As AI continues to reshape the accounting and finance profession, IMA engaged global experts and leaders in the profession to study the applications of AI.

ANIUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 02:15 PM IST
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 IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), the worldwide association of accountants and financial professionals in business, has released 'The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Accounting and Finance: A Global Perspective.' The report outlines how to embrace a future with artificial intelligence (AI) along with the challenges organizations can face and prerequisites needed for a successful AI integration.

As AI continues to reshape the accounting and finance profession, IMA engaged global experts and leaders in the profession to study the applications of AI and what barriers could exist to implement processes into accountants' daily work. Insights from these discussions are valuable for informing organizational strategies as leaders prepare to embark on their AI journey.

'AI will not fully replace human expertise'

"AI is a game-changer that has the potential to empower accounting and finance professionals when it comes to data analysis, forecasting and decision-making," said Susie Duong, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, CIA, EA, senior director of research and thought leadership at IMA and author of the report. "The use of AI will drive the future of the profession's growth, unlock untapped potential, and increase the value of professionals and organizations."

The research for the report found that while AI will not fully replace human expertise, professionals at all levels will need to embrace and adopt this transformation and focus on technology proficiency, data analytics, critical thinking, and cross-functional collaboration. Likewise, organizations will need to foster human-machine collaboration, focusing on upskilling and reskilling team members, and creating a culture of ongoing learning to understand AI's strengths and weaknesses, steering toward its responsible and fruitful implementation.

Study participants identified four aspects of challenges associated with AI implementation, which are human, technological, operational, and ethical. Challenges related to people - involving all levels of employees within an organization, were identified as the biggest hurdle for success of AI initiatives, according to 38 per cent of participants.

AI for aid and enhancement

"As AI revolutionizes the accounting and finance sectors in India, it announces the beginning of a new era of enhanced efficiency, strategic decision-making, and professional development. This shift significantly improves the work-life balance and elevates India's position in the global economy. Embracing AI means embracing a future where learning, innovation, and ethical considerations are paramount. It's about more than technological advancement, it's about fostering a society that values continuous improvement, ethical practices, and inclusive growth," said Ahmad Mkhallati, senior director, IMA Middle East, India, and Africa.

Addressing skill gap

To solve for these challenges and for a successful AI integration, the study outlined the following prerequisites: Aligning AI strategies with organizational goals and ensuring adequate executive support, addressing the skills gap of the existing workforce through training and development; Fostering cross-functional collaboration, process reengineering, and scalability; Focusing on data quality and the digital preparedness of teams; and Navigating AI-related risks and embracing ethical AI practices.

The research drew insights from in-depth dialogues from interviews and roundtable discussions with experts in the field and accounting/finance leaders spanning the U.S., Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, India, and China.

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