Is AI Going to Replace Accounting?

Maddy Osman, Expert Product Reviewer
July 26, 2023
min read
September 19, 2023
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Is AI coming for your job? Find out how accountants are using AI in accounting right now and why it won't replace them anytime soon. Learn more!
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Worried AI might be coming for your job? We get it.

Unfortunately, that's become a reality for thousands of Americans. U.S. companies axed 3,900 jobs specifically because of AI in May 2023. That’s about 5 percent of all layoffs that month.

So, of course, a rules-based job like accounting is going to feel some heat. After all, surely AI would have no problem finding errors or calculating that deductible faster than a human, right?

... Maybe not.

Since there's so much concern around whether or not AI will replace accountants (to the point that an /Accounting Reddit user asked if they could ban the whole topic), we thought we’d ask some experts to shed light on the issue.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Ho‎w we use AI in accounting right now

Believe it or not, “the end” is already here. Thousands of accountants use AI to make their lives easier. And AI isn’t replacing their knowledge or analytical skills.

Instead, it’s helping them get more done and work faster than ever.

Many of the tools that accountants use help with general office work. You can find tools that draft emails to clients and schedule meetings based on your existing schedule. Other options are more accounting-specific, though, and help with bookkeeping and expense reports.

Jason Staats, CPA, is one accountant who's embraced the AI revolution. He has a whole list of tools he takes advantage of and recommends to other accountants, too.

  • and other meeting apps will record your meeting and generate a transcript for you to review later.
  • ChatGPT has PDF readers to help you find info and summarize stuff (Ask Your PDF is a good option).
  • Canopy helps draft emails with ChatGPT. You enter in the basic info you need covered, and Canopy can help you get the tone right.
  • Digits is specifically for accountants. This tool can go over your books and find inconsistencies (like how you categorize expenses or if you left in sensitive data) and make recommendations for changes. 
  • Karbon AI summarizes and composes emails and prioritizes your inbox. Even better, this tool is tailored for accounting firms.
  • Keeper AI is an AI agent that uses data to build profiles, catch errors, and automate your bookkeeping. 
  • Pixie AI Copilot acts as your copilot, reading your emails, looking up any necessary information and drafting a reply based on the questions asked and information found.

TLDR: If you aren’t using AI in your firm yet, it’s only a matter of time.

So, will AI replace accountants? 

Not yet — it’s going to help them instead.

So‎ … are accountants worried about the AI revolution?

Honestly, it depends on who you ask, but for the most part, no.

Like we mentioned earlier, the Accounting subreddit is all over the debate. One Reddit user jokes that they’re probably safe because companies need someone to own up to any errors.

They're too far off, either. As of right now, there’s not much of a legal precedent for whether AI can be held responsible for its own actions.

Now, imagine a company leaving AI in charge of their finances. It could (and likely would) mean big legal problems if there are any mistakes in the financial statements.

And some of these tools make plenty of mistakes. Hector Garcia, a popular accounting YouTuber, has a whole 1.5-hour video going over how he’s using AI in his practice. (He especially likes using AI to write Excel macros and clean up data.)

He mentions a few times that the tools make mistakes. At one point, he asked ChatGPT to classify expenses, and, well... it tried. But in the end, the tool just doesn't have the judgment skills to manage those types of queries.

Garcia worries that small businesses might mistakenly believe AI could handle everything when they really need an accountant to look at their books. 

At the end of the day, AI responds to prompts and requests. What it can’t do is understand data the way we can.

Let's say you're looking at a client's expense report. You're not just looking at the numbers, but the context of the purchases and why. You wouldn't get any of that from ChatGPT.

There’s also the fact that a lot of us just don’t trust AI. A study published in May 2023 found that when robots made mistakes, humans had a hard time trusting them again, especially if it happened more than once.

So what does all this mean?

If‎ AI isn’t taking over, how will we use it in accounting? 

In short: AI can make your life easier by doing the work you don't want to do.

Here are some ways AI is already making people's lives easier.

Sayonara, repetitive tasks

AI can cut down on repetitive tasks. Specifically, we want to see it handle the majority of:

  • Payroll.
  • Data entry.
  • Spend management.
  • Accounts payable.

The best part about AI taking over these tasks is that they're exactly the sort of work that people hate. We’re talking monotonous, error-prone stuff that AI can handle much faster.

Meet your new administrative assistant

AI admin tools are already popular. You can find AI that will write emails, schedule meetings and take notes.

Remember, while these tools will likely get you most of the way there, you’ll still want to review what your AI assistant comes up with. 

At the end of the day, having AI handle most of the work will save you time and money over hiring and training another office assistant.

Train and onboard on easy mode

Speaking of repetition, you know all those repeat questions you're always answering? Are you constantly telling clients or colleagues how to do something?

AI can write process documents for you — in seconds. Tools like Scribe use automation and ChatGPT to build how-to guides with screenshots.

Create, edit and share Scribes with your team and clients, so that you never have to answer that question again.

Let's say you create a Scribe for invoicing customers. Now dozens of your coworkers and contractors can use that Scribe whenever they need it.

Tracey M., a senior bookkeeper says:

“I use Scribe with my non-accounting clients (business owners, exec assistants, etc.) to help them learn how to enter their own data in various programs, rather than having to pay our firm to do it. This helps free up our CAS services staff to enable us to serve more clients successfully.” 


Your new favorite audit helper

If you look back at some of the accounting-specific tools we mentioned above, like Digits and Keeper, you’ll see that they really focus on identifying patterns and anomalies. 

This speeds up the auditing process since AI can review and pick out the data that doesn't fit.

But don't worry: accountants will still need to verify this information. But hopefully, you won’t be spending weekends at the office during tax season anymore.

tax2 1 | Reputable Recruiting

Fi‎nal thoughts: Will AI replace accountants? The future of accounting

We can all breathe a sigh of relief — AI won't be taking over the world (or even Quickbooks) any time soon.

But chances are it will change how we work — just like computers and Excel did.

Get ahead of the curve by using AI to make your life easier. Try an AI tool like Scribe and be more productive than ever.

Ready to try Scribe?

Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.