Ann Marie Puig

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Ann Marie Puig discusses how artificial intelligence is changing financial accounting

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a popular phrase in recent years, and while it isn’t easy to separate the hype from realistic potentials, AI is founded on a solid principle. Simply stated, AI is one of the most advanced concepts in system creation and decision-making, and the amount of research and engagement with consumer electronics have evolved into verifiable, usable methods and technologies that are changing how humans make decisions, while eliminating the risk of human error. Business leader and philanthropist Ann Marie Puig offers insight into how this innovation is changing the accounting space.
 
AI’s increase in popularity and its integration into different types of tech and electronics does not mean it’s a novel concept. It has been an aspiration and goal of computer science innovators for over 60 years and has seen astounding evolution ever since. AI has, in more recent times, become a part of other aspects of our lives, as witnessed by the rise in smart home networks, chatbots, voice-assisted technology like Alexa and even self-driving cars take hold. Says Puig, “Going forward, AI is going to bring an incredible opportunity to accountants and promises to offer an entirely new standard of efficiency in accounting and financial operations.  In terms of the overall accounting space, AI could revolutionize virtually every aspect of accounting.”
 
Human understanding is, in itself, a cognitive wonder, based on particularly advanced abilities to adapt and remain flexible. However, it also has its limits. The human brain is constantly trying to reconcile biases and inconsistencies and these affect the decision-making process. 
 
As a result, the creation of machine learning (ML) and AI are set to help humans make their decisions, and isn’t going to replace them entirely. AI is here to add capabilities while freeing up time by eliminating overwhelming and redundant tasks. This, as it relates to accounting, allows accountants to focus on more lucrative endeavors. 
 
In accounting specifically, the support ML gives toward decision-making processes makes way for offering accountants completely accurate data-driven insights that can be combined with financial and non-financial analysis to develop better financial health pictures.  AI also gives accountants the ability to solve current problems, more easily while facilitating a more organized routine that allows the individuals to focus on providing advisory services, strategic development, leading and problem-solving, instead of having to spend that time working on routine, and often mundane, tasks.
 
Puig adds, “Despite all the advancements, not every job or task is ready for AI. The potential for the technology is unlimited, but the reality is that the platform is typically only effective when used to perform the same repetitive tasks. This allows the platform to be able to distinguish patterns and generalize and apply its results accordingly.  The outputs of the algorithms are predicated on the established input and are purely suggestive, meaning that not all tasks can benefit from AI incorporation. This is changing, though, as the technology is improved and new algorithms created.”
 
ML and AI have proven that aggregating and organizing data doesn’t have to only be performed by humans. Machines are more capable and can do it better, which allows greater efficiency and permits the entrepreneur to work better, as well.