A FUTURE IN ACCOUNTING WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION- THESIS.pdf - UNIVERSITY OF GHENT FACULTY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION A FUTURE IN

A FUTURE IN ACCOUNTING WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION- THESIS.pdf

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UNIVERSITY OF GHENT FACULTY OF ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION A FUTURE IN ACCOUNTING WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION Number of words: 17,117 Master’s Dissertation submitted to obtain the degree of: Master of Science in Business Economics - Accountancy Academic year: 2017 – 2018 Student: Mélanie Simon Student number: 01615385 [email protected] Promotor : Prof. Dr. Patricia Everaert [email protected]
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3 Title page Title: A future in accounting without human intervention Author: Mélanie Simon E-mail address: [email protected] Student number: 01615385 University: University of Ghent Faculty: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Study: Master of Science in Business Economics – Accountancy Study year: 2017 – 2018 Promotor: Prof. Dr. Patricia Everaert Email address: [email protected] Document status: Final version Number of words: 17,117 Date: 4th of June 2018 Place: Ghent
4 Abstract Objectives: The aim of this study is to examine the impact of automation on the accounting profession, in order to answer the question if a future in accounting without human intervention is possible. Background: In order for automation to replace the accountant, technology needs to provide useful financial information; it needs to be relevant, represented faithfully, comparable, verifiable, timely and understandable. Systematic literature study: 32 articles were selected, main subjects identified were: consequences on accounting, moral decision-making, future role, implications on small accounting firms, implications on the labour market and solutions. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with accountants from eight different companies in Belgium and Luxembourg. Professionals have been interviewed regarding their use of technology and their future perspective on the accounting profession. Results: Eight interviews have been conducted, main subjects identified were: the use of automation, qualitative characteristics, skills and implication on small accounting firms. Results show that the accountant will be using automation for routine tasks, rather than being replaced by it. Tasks that require critical-thinking and creativity seem to be more difficult to be automated. In the coming years, the technology will be able to assist accountants in non-repetitive tasks. The business model of accounting firms will change and accountants who are not ready for automation will be at risk of being replaced by automation. Specific skills will already need to be acquired before starting to work. Relevance for practice: Accountants will shift to either advisory or consultancy. IT-, tax- and analytical skills will have to be developed. Universities will need to change their education programs in order for future accountants to be ready to work alongside automation.
5 Table of content Introduction 9 1.1 Context 9 1.2 Problem Statement 9 1.3 Research question 10 1.4 Structure of the thesis 10 2. Artificial Intelligence and automation 11 3. The Accountant, Auditor and Management Accountant 13 3.1 Definitions 13 3.2 A brief history of the accountant 14 3.3 Financial reporting

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