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Getting ahead of the curve on emerging technologies


Emerging technologies, like machine learning and automation, are disrupting the business status quo. 415 Group Associate Mark Manwaring, CPA, explains how this could revolutionize the workplace, particularly in the accounting industry.


I’ve always had an interest in technology that helps us as human beings do things better. When it comes to emerging technologies, the concepts outlined in this article will help accounting professionals and their clients improve efficiency, while also saving time and money.

Machine learning is one of the top things that will really push our industry forward. It’s going to help us look at data and give us information that we can use to better serve our clients, particularly manufacturers, who rely on an enormous amount of data.

Audits will become much faster. We can allow AI (artificial intelligence) to take over some analytics and data mining. It won’t completely remove the human element from our work; it will enhance it. While I specialize in audits and assurance, I also see potential benefits on the tax-side of our business with cloud accounting and moving elements more online.

All of our clients could benefit from emerging technologies to some extent, regardless of their size or industry. It’s something that every business needs to look into, because if you don’t, you’re going to fall behind.

At 415 Group, we can help our clients explore these technologies and find ways to implement them that will enhance our relationships. Our group of IT experts deal with these technologies on a daily basis and can help clients decide what is right for them; technologies that can help them run their businesses more efficiently and effectively.

Turn on your computer or mobile device, scroll through Facebook or Twitter, or skim a business-oriented website, and you’ll likely come across the term “emerging technologies.” It has become so ubiquitous that you might be tempted to ignore it and move on to something else. That would be a mistake.

In today’s competitive business landscape, your ability to stay up to date — or, better yet, get ahead of the curve — on the emerging technologies in your industry could make or break your company.

Watch the competition

There’s a good chance that some of your competitors already are trying to adapt emerging technologies such as these:

Machine learning. A form of artificial intelligence, machine learning refers to the ability of machines to learn and improve at a specific task with little or no programming or human intervention. For instance, you could use machine learning to search through large amounts of consumer data and make predictions about future purchase patterns. Think of Amazon’s suggested products or Netflix’s recommended viewing.

Natural language processing (NLP). This technology employs algorithms to analyze unstructured human language in emails, texts, documents, conversation or otherwise. It could be used to find specific information in a document based on the other words around that information.

Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is the networking of objects (for example, vehicles, building systems and household appliances) embedded with electronics, software, sensors and Internet connectivity. It allows the collection, sending and receiving of data about users and their interactions with their environments.

Robotic process automation (RPA). You can use RPA to automate repetitive manual tasks that eat up a lot of staff time but don’t require decision making. Relying on business rules and structured inputs, RPA can perform such tasks with greater speed and accuracy than any human possibly could.

Not so difficult

If you fall behind on these or other emerging technologies that your competitors may already be incorporating, you run the risk of never catching up. But how can you stay informed and know when to begin seriously pursuing an emerging technology? It’s not as difficult as you might think:

Taking the time for these steps will reduce the odds that you’ll be caught by surprise and unable to catch up or break ahead.

When you’re ready to undertake the process of integrating an emerging technology into your business operation, forecasting both the implementation and maintenance costs will be critical. We can help you create a reasonable budget and manage the financial impact.

© 2018

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