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Reminder: Robots Are Coming For Your Accounting Jobs

As you may have heard, THE MACHINES are taking over CPA jobs. But for accounting wizards like yourselves, you probably want some numbers to tell the story. Fair enough.

Last week, Planet Money covered a 2013 study entitled The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?  It’s gotten attention in the accounting profession before, as Maryland Association of CPAs CEO Tom Hood mentioned it earlier this year in a post about avoiding the demise of accounting.

Planet Money developed a handy guide that makes it easy to know which jobs have the greatest chance of being automated in the next 20 years.

The researchers scored jobs on nine traits, but identified four they considered to be most important:

1) Do you need to come up with creative solutions?
2) Are you required personally to help others?
3) Does your job require you to squeeze into small spaces?
4) Does your job require negotiation?

As you may have already guessed, accounting jobs didn’t fair so well. Here are some of the more accounting-y jobs the study covered and their percentage likelihood of automation:

  • Tax preparers — 98.7%
  • Bookkeepers — 97.6%
  • Budget analysts — 93.8%
  • Accountants and auditors — 93.5%
  • Market research analysts — 61.3%
  • Financial analysts — 23.3%
  • Financial examiners — 17%
  • Financial managers — 6.9%

Now before you fly off the handle the post says, “researchers admit that the estimates are rough and likely to be wrong,” but it’s hard to argue that automation isn’t becoming a bigger part of accounting. What’s even more concerning is that with the enrollment of accounting majors going up year after year, it’s almost a certainty that the skills of a large number of students are becoming more and more irrelevant while the accounting jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet.

And that’s exciting! Or terrifying! So the question is, while Roy Batty keeps the numbers humming, will human accountants evolve into something we won’t recognize or a become rare species like Amur Leopardsor charming men? Discuss your thoughts.

Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? [Planet Money via @BlakeTOliver]
Earlier: Now That Auditing Is Joining The 21st Century, What Will It Be Like?