Over a year ago, I started a quest for an innovative way for Small and Medium Enterprises to meet their accounting and tax responsibilities while keeping their costs and overhead to a minimum. There is a real need to make the routine parts of the accounting function consume as little of the management team attention and resources. So they can focus on the creative value-adding parts of their business.
The 4th industrial revolution will certainly tackle this market demand as it brings all the right tools and technologies from AI to RPA to Blockchain/Distributed Ledger. The first iteration of that concept took me to the semi-finals of a global competition for smart-city ideas. The concept blueprint included a chatbot that basically scanned most of your accounting related documents and took it all the way to guaranteed tax filing. That chatbot was nicknamed the Actabot, short for Accounting and Tax Bot.
In 2018 I shared my idea on LinkedIn in a reply to a post by my dear colleague Simon Chan showing some notable statistics about the accounting profession. Professor Karen Pollit-Cham insightful interaction with the post have led to this article that is meant to announce the official launch of this #actabot enterprise, and make this a Call to Action by the #accounting community to join hands to co-own and move this concept forward all the way to realization.
Here is how that episode of the story unfolded:
The most shocking Statistic of the day comes from Prem Sikka in the FT, who is professor of accounting at the University of Sheffield who points out that the UK has about 34,435 general practitioners to take care of family health, but has more than 360,000 professionally qualified accountants out of an estimated global total of almost 3m.
So there are over 10x more accountants than doctors in UK.
Wait for the accounting bots to come to market in force then you will have 3M accountants at hand. Among all professions accounting is one of the easiest to emulate. Much easier than self driving cars.
Sami Tayara you should write a post on it. All we now need is some sort of accredited status and we are off !
And here are some tidbits that ensued that I am including as part of the seed ideas:
Sami: I actually have a superb idea with a pinch of novelty in it that I am considering. Basically start with a forum where the pool of 3M accredited accountants can come in and help design and launch their digital twin.
Karen: this is always my approach to transformation – engagement of legacy stakeholders. Additionally, there would have to be some way of capturing and capitalising on the idiosyncrasies of each user in their twin or even an accountant could probably work out they were replacing themselves ?
Sami: Hey great idea there Professor Karen Pollitt-Cham FRSA . So assuming I was the accountant who joins this new Actabot enterprise, I will participate in creating that uber-scient digital twin that fuses the wisdom of the accounting masses, then I will also get the right to create my own personal branded twin (by customizing the core one) and I will have the rights to sell that twin’s services. And since we are at it, why not create a whole army of my twins and deploy them. My role will be to keep involved in an oversight capacity while my bots are laboring.
Karen: yes of course; BUT what makes my twin different from everyone else’s ? That’s where I come in 😉
Sami: OK let us formalize this willingness to pursue this concept further through an article I will pen now here on LinkedIn. It is a worthy place to launch this enterprise in social media space, and appeal to the power and wisdom of the crowd to make it happen.
I hope I will have as many takers for the idea as the Kiki Dance challenge did 🙂
Ladies and gentlemen, certified accountants of the world, and digital transformation architects who are thrilled by the idea, please write a comment below to signal your interest.
And as soon as we have a sizable founding team we shall collaborate to snowball this idea into execution.