‘Today’ in the twenty-first century has become a relative term. The rate at which Science and Technology are making innovative advances in every field, is rendering their predecessors obsolete and practically useless. Any investments made in acquiring the latest technology should not be expected to have a long-term maturity, as within a very short time span, a newer technology would get introduced to the market, calling upon consumers to discard the previous one. The ‘technology of today’ is soon bound to become the ‘technology of yesterday’.
Automation in almost every sector and virtually every industry is on the rise. It has become a necessity in today’s day and age as a means of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. In the fast pace local and global transactions and the need for urgent, if not immediate results, requires processes to be undertaken and completed with minimal delay, which can only be made possible by employing as much technology and automation in the processes as possible. In addition to being cost-efficient, automation also produces results at much less the costs in comparison to hiring employees to perform such tasks manually.
A services, or even production-based, business that does not use as much automation as possible is considered to be a poorly-managed and an unappreciated entity to be associated with. A recent insight into the automation of accounting systems and increase in the use of accounting software by both accounting firms and business entities, revealed that the amount of accountants and auditors employed by these firms have gone down drastically as an offset of the innovations in software technologies in this sector.
Although many of the tedious processes and principles are quickly bypassed by the new accounting software to efficiently and effectively reconcile accounts and generate the necessary financial statements, one must take time out to consider the cons of such an invention as well. The number of accountants who have been the laid off in the past, and the limited number of job opportunities available to accountants fresh out of college should be a cause of concern. Not only does unemployment rise from excessive automation and dependence on technology, but a persistently disappointing trend in the sector would eventually lead to a shortage of accountants in the industry, as people would choose to pursue degrees pertinent to acquiring better-rewarding and higher-opportunity jobs.
The question that subsequently remains unanswered is how much automation and incorporation of technology along the process is acceptable to maintain a balance of increased efficiency and preservation of the job market. The fulfillment of the aforementioned condition is necessary, not only for the future of the industry, but for causing widespread externalities for the society as well. Although profit-maximization and cost-minimization are the primary goals of any firm, bearing in mind the ethics of social responsibility as an entity of an economy, firms should ensure a healthy job market for new-entrants; while at the same time, keep themselves up-to-date with the requirements of modern-day accounting practices.
Aitzaz Rehamn Sheikh