What an incredibly informative session yesterday with EY, SAP and Blackline in the Dean Hotel. Not only were we treated to a delicious brunch, but we also gained an insightful overview of the changing world of the finance function and the impact that GenAI is and will have on world of accounting and finance as we know it.

I had two hats attending the event – the first as that of a recruiter in Accounting and Finance and the second as a mother of a daughter undertaking studies through the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Whilst there are many uncertainties surrounding the governance of Gen AI (a type of artificial intelligence technology that can produce several types of content, including text, imagery, audio, and synthetic data.), one thing is for sure – Finance departments are changing and the rate of change will accelerate over the next 5 years.

The crux of Generative AI is that it is set to redefine the accounting profession. By automating routine tasks, enhancing data analysis, and improving financial forecasting, accountants can and will shift their focus towards strategic, high-value activities. For early adopters, there are pitfalls associated with Gen AI such as data quality issues, employee training requirements, ethical considerations and security precautions when employing this technology. With time, these pitfalls will be ironed out and Gen AI will offer businesses new ways of completing basic accounting duties in more effective and timely manner.

At the same time, through the work of the Irish Institute of Chartered Accountants, trainees are being afforded an exciting range of modules that will help them to be relevant to such advances in technology. Such modules include principles of robotic process automation (RPA), data analysis and preparation and data visualisation. These are supported by the students getting to play with industry tools such as UiPath for RPA, Alteryx for Data preparation and analysis and Tableau for data visualisation.

With all the advances out there is much debate about the future role of the Accountant. Regardless of what type of Accountant that you are,  I believe that your future looks bright as long as you are excited to be in an environment which offers you plenty of opportunity for ongoing professional development in all the areas mentioned above.