By Hitendra Patil
Accountaneur: The Entrepreneurial Accountant
Till today, “work” in the accounting profession involved creating and re-creating the accounting information and then making sense out of it.
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E.g., you take an invoice in a paper form – printed from the data already existing in someone else’s accounting software (private ledger) – and then you re-create the same data by converting (manual data-entry, OCR, etc.) that paper info into data again.
Blockchain can and will obviate this need to “re-create” the same information. This is just one example of how “accounting” work can and will get redefined.
Blockchain creates a “distinct or extinct” question for accountants:
How will YOU organize, rather RE-organize, what you do – your services, your practice, your firm, your life and that of your near and dear ones – if you can see this future, today?
That is, how will YOU ride the blockchain accounting train?
How to Get Ready
In its simplest form, the analysis of the traditional accounting (and auditing and tax) work done at accounting firms today will help you assess the impact of blockchain on your practice.
- Make a list of each step of the work handled by humans in each task for each type of work.
- Then ask a question for each step – will blockchain technology actually be able to do this step automatically? Hint: If it is about “creating” data, then blockchain WILL do it, for sure.
- If the answer is yes, or may be, cut it off from the list of “tasks to be done by staff/partners.”
- Review the list and see how many tasks are now remaining on the list – to be done by staff/partners – even after blockchain implementation.
- Repeat steps above until you come up with an emphatic, definite “NO” i.e., no, this cannot be done by blockchain.
- Estimate the impact in terms of utilization of staff/partners, post-blockchain.
- Then try to answer this question: “Post-blockchain, what will the clients pay accountants for?”
Difficult to imagine?
Here are some hints:
- Human beings have been gifted with five senses and of course, the sixth sense.
- Technology does not have these gifts. E.g. you can sense and feel the entrepreneur’s sweat, the fidgeting hands, the worried voice, the optimistic positivity in the expressions, the confidence in the body language and so on. You can aggregate all of it in your mind and put that in a context. Technology can’t (yet) make out a context.
- Humans interact with technology. Technology, by itself, cannot sense human expressions, yet.
- Humans create technology. Technology is not intelligent enough to create technology by itself. Technology surely cannot create humans.
- Can you imagine humans speaking with technology and asking questions like, “Hey, accountant! How do I get out of this long overdue receivables mess?” The thinking and analysis required to make “business” decisions based on synthesis of diverse sets of interrelated information – coupled with wisdom, expertise and experience in the real business world – can come only from humans, at least in the foreseeable future.
- Accountants, imagine yourself being appointed by your clients, NOT as an accountant but as a board member to help the enterprise make those business-critical decisions.
- If you ARE that board member right now, how will you look at the financial data of the enterprise?
- The future will be in helping entrepreneurs make critical business decisions – by actionable insights validated with key information contained in diverse data sets emerging through accounting and tax.
- Blockchain will do everything else for you. It’s just a tool for you to leverage.
How you can keep in touch with the future:
We all are fast moving toward an incredibly imaginable future
Where we’ll keep getting our “life” back, more and more,
NOT by “doing” things that we, till now, believed to be “work”
But by using our specialized knowledge and expertise
To help others make their lives better and attain their potential.