by Blake Oliver – Accounting Today Contributor –

Automation is transforming the accounting profession. My experience proves it. Over the past five years, I’ve gone from working as a low-paid hourly bookkeeper to billing fixed fees as high-value virtual controller — and one who does almost no data entry, by the way.

We’re quickly approaching an era of “no-code accounting” — truly zero data entry. But that’s not all automation will do for us in the future. While we sleep, artificial intelligence will prioritize our next day’s work and provide us with insights about our clients, enabling us to redefine our role as accountants and bookkeepers in a way that is far more lucrative for us, and more valuable to our clients.

Automation will lead those of us willing to adapt into a bright and prosperous future.

Making accounting easier

The data entry component of bookkeeping, or what I think of now as historical recordkeeping, has nearly been eliminated by automation and cloud accounting ecosystems.

Manually keying in bills, printing paper checks — these are just a couple of the tasks I once billed clients for on an hourly basis. And I had to drive to them one-by-one to use their desktop accounting software. The amount of money I could earn was limited by the number of clients I could see in a day or in a week.

Switching to cloud accounting apps in 2011 provided huge efficiencies that immediately cut the time I spent on client work in half. By necessity I transitioned my clients from hourly billing to fixed monthly fees — otherwise I would have gone broke!

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