Why CPAs Should Embrace the Digital Revolution

Tax folks are hardly the only professionals monitoring emerging technologies or wondering what their impact will be on their jobs.

Why CPAs Should Embrace the Digital Revolution

The repercussions of these advancements will be significant. The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted that somewhere between 400 million and 800 million current jobs will be automated by 2030. Those numbers and other widely-reported stats are catching the attention of many professionals, including a group that often works closely with tax: CPAs.

Let me point out straight away that automating a job is, of course, not the same thing as eliminating it. Yet CPAs’ discussions on this digital movement, what some in the profession are calling “robo-accounting,” are often tinged with anxiety.

That’s understandable, but avoidable. The robotic era opens opportunities for CPAs to evolve and extend their roles in very rewarding ways. Yes, accounting pros will need to keep abreast of innovation and understand how clients and employers are using technology. But the new AI-driven wave of automation also can help CPAs become an even more vital resource for the organizations they serve. It will do so by eliminating many manual and repetitive tasks, freeing CPAs to take on a more advisory role.

Tax calculations are a prime example. CPAs contend with many of the same complexities and endless rule changes that tax managers wrestle with. In the first half of this year alone, there were 318 changes to sales and use tax rates in jurisdictions within the United States. More changes are on the way for remote retailers as states institute new sales tax regimes based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. Wayfair ruling. Automated tax technology can help save time for CPAs and ensure greater accuracy.

In addition to simplifying tax calculations, emerging technologies can help CPAs streamline the monthly sales tax filing; accelerate income tax filing adjustments; and simplify tax reporting. I go into more detail for each of these advantages in a recent article in CPA Now. Check it out to learn more about how CPAs can thrive in automated accounting (and tax) environments.

Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.


About this Contributor

Chris Livingston Headshot
Chris Livingston
Director of Operations, Vertex Cloud

Chris Livingston is director of operations for Vertex Cloud, managing customer implementation processes, as well as the development of connectors to mid‐market ERP and ecommerce platforms. Throughout his career, Chris has held positions in finance, software development, product management and operations. He received his B.B.A. in finance from Pace University and is certified in project management, database management and business analysis.

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