A.I. and robotics within the tax market
The use of A.I. and robotic technology is increasing rapidly across all aspects of modern life. In the Tax world, the opportunity for robotics to replace repetitive and time-consuming processes offers a potentially cost-effective solution, enabling business leaders to re-direct focus and efforts on value-added activities.
But what are the different types of robotic technology available and how can they be utilised to a business’ needs?
- Artificial Intelligence (A.I.): This is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. It allows computers to imitate a human cognition – making deductions and feeding back information. This includes learning, reasoning and even self-correcting. For example, IBM’s supercomputer Watson is able to store information and answer questions for training and advisory purposes.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA): A form of technology that allows you to automate processes. It replicates the actions of a human interacting with a computer system. However, unlike A.I., it must always be provided with instructions. For example, once programmed, RPA can effectively operate business payroll processing.
- Machine learning. This is a science that allows computers to learn, based on programming algorithms. As a result, computers can improve their learning over time and become increasingly better at identifying & predicting information. Think of your computer cache, Amazon Echo, or Siri.
In terms of the Tax Market, we are expecting robotic technologies, such as those listed above, to automate a wide range of processes, including tax returns, spreadsheet populations, data manipulation, validating work papers, reverse auditing and heat mapping.
While in theory, such technology can automate human actions, we do not expect robotics to reduce headcount in the near future. As processes & procedures are improved and automated, this will give tax professionals more time to focus on planning and strategic opportunities.