The Effects of Technology on the Accounting Profession

Topics: Accountant, Accountancy, Business Pages: 5 (782 words) Published: March 25, 2015

The Effects of Technology on the Accounting Profession

Neal Hennessy

The Effects of Technology on the Accounting Profession
The accounting profession has been around in one way or another for as long as people have traded goods and services. As the transactions between people have become more frequent and complex the accounting profession has become more and more essential and the tools used to perform its functions have become increasingly advanced. For the most part, the days of writing every transaction in a journal and charting and adding accounts on manual charts is gone, replaced by integrated computer systems that often enter transactions into accounts with little or no user interface. These technological advances have changed the accounting profession making it both easier in some ways and in others harder. With computers and accounting software, fewer accountants are needed to manage more accounts since, “Software can help accountants in their daily tasks, such as paying bills, recording transactions and reporting. The program keeps all data organized and in a centralized location” (Shanker, 2015). Eliminating much of the need for manually entering transactions means that larger businesses can use fewer accounting professionals and/or use those people for self-auditing, investigating, or other activities that they would have little time for if they needed to enter and calculate everything by hand. In addition, new accounting software has helped to minimize human error and installed checks and balances that otherwise wouldn’t have been in place. These benefits for medium and large companies are clear, but there are significant changes that apply to small businesses as well. There are a variety of sophisticated accounting software programs available for low cost. These programs allow business owners and managers with minimal accounting knowledge to do the lion’s share of accounting for a company. In the past a small business owner would have to spend a great deal of time managing their books or employ an accountant or firm to take care of it. New technology allows these same owners to do the work themselves without sacrificing their ability to perform other tasks. So, in a nutshell, this technology allows companies to me more efficient and productive with fewer errors in the accounting process. The advancing nature of technology can also create ever advancing problems and complications. On the one hand, computers and accounting software have greatly aided in the accounting cycle and made accountants more efficient. On the other hand, advances in mobile technology like mobile phones, tablets, and mobile applications have raised security concerns. “Tomorrow’s accountants are part of the so-called “millennial” generation who only know a world in which apps—think Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—are omnipresent. These accountants tend to take being connected for granted. For them, texting has replaced phone calls and even email can seem antiquated as a communication mechanism. They seem to have little appreciation for the importance of privacy and security and don’t realize the consequences of everything they put up on the World Wide Web” (Freeman, 2012). Mobile phones and mobile applications are a double edged sword for accountants now and in the future. These mobile devices allow communication instantaneously so that accountants can collaborate and share information. The danger is that these devices and applications, particularly social media applications, are far less secure than a company intranet or a locked file cabinet. The concern for company financial information being shared is vitally important as it could lead to insider trading, theft, fraud, etc. While it’s clear that the technological advances of computers, accounting software, mobile devices, and mobile applications have aided and transformed the accounting process in a myriad of positive ways, it is also clear that these advances...

Cited: Freeman, D. (2012, October 23rd). Technology 's Impact on Accounting and Business. Retrieved January 26th, 2015, from
Shanker, S. (2015). How is Information Technology Used in Accounting. Retrieved January 26th, 2015, from
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