JOA: Accountants’ role in managing AI disruption
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 04:05PM
Charlie in Digital Financial Reporting

The Journal of Accountancy published an article, Accountants role in managing AI disruption, pointing out some short-term (20 to 30 years) and longer-term (50 to 70 years) impacts that artificial intelligence (AI) will have on society. You can read the article to understand those changes.

More importantly, Calum Chace, an AI expert, makes the following statement in the article, "Accountants can play a leading role in the dialogue about the future. He said accountants are trusted for their intelligence, level-headedness, and analytical abilities, and he expects that as AI's impact on the world emerges, accountants will continue to use their skills to serve the public interest."

I agree.  But first, accountants need to understand AI and its probable impact.

Chace says that at a more immediate level, accountants need to know how to handle the disruption that AI is bringing to their profession in the very short term. (i.e. now)  Three immediate steps include: 

Here is a baby step where you can use your data and determine if you have the skills you need or if it is necessary to bring in additional skills: XBRL-based digital financial reporting.

The document that I put together, Getting Ready for the Digital Age of Accounting, Reporting and Auditing: a Guide for Professional Accountants, is helpful to professional accountants trying to get their heads around things like AI.  One of the first applications of AI in accounting and reporting will be XBRL-based digital financial reporting.

Rudimentary AI is already here.  How do I know?  Because I helped to create it.  I would not go as far as saying that I wrote the book on the use of AI in financial reporting; but I will say two things: 

  1. I put together about 750 pages worth of good information over the past 15 years.
  2. If you know of something better, please tell me about it.  I would really like to know about it.

Because most professional accountants did not get basic background information in college or pick up the necessary information over their careers, it is very important to start at the foundational level, get a good grounding.  What I found useful is all organized in Part 1 - Foundation for Understanding: Background, Framework, Theory, Principles.

If you don't lay a good foundation, you will fall prey to the snake-oil salesmen.  Don't fall into that trap.


Article originally appeared on Intelligent XBRL-based structured digital financial reporting using US GAAP and IFRS (
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