Why accountants should embrace automation?

Mention automation in a room full of accountants and be prepared for a mixed reaction.

If you’re in the accounting profession, you may already know what automation is and what it could mean for the future of the industry.

If not, let us bring you up to speed.

What is automated accounting?

Automation in accounting is when software is used to make certain tasks and processes automatic so they run without the need for much, if any, human intervention.

It could be said that automation in accounting was introduced back in 1987 with the invention of Microsoft Excel. Using Excel’s hundreds of functions, accountants could save time by organising large data sets and performing calculations automatically using pre-set equations.

Excel changed the accounting landscape, and the newest automation technology is changing it once more.

Today, cloud-based accounting software such as Clear Books, QuickBooks, Xero, and Sage—as well as virtual document management systems, payroll software, and compliance software—use artificial intelligence to provide automated accounting solutions that disrupt traditional accounting methods.

This software performs a wide range of functions, including automatic extraction of data from invoices and receipts, collecting and processing payments, and preparing and even submitting tax returns directly to HMRC.

Will accountants be automated in the future?

No. While some of the less skilled tasks in accounting may be handled by software, nothing can replace an experienced accountant when it comes to advice, data interpretation, and general management of a business’s financial affairs.

So you don’t need to panic. A robot will not replace you in your job.

However, machine learning WILL change the game. Here are some of the benefits that automation will bring to the accounting industry.

a robot doing calculations - what is automation

Why is automation good news for your accounting practice?


Have you ever found yourself frustrated with the more repetitive accounting tasks, wishing you had more time to focus on higher-level duties? The good news about automation is that it allows accounting professionals to become better at their jobs by giving them the time to flex their accounting muscles into things like business advice, strategy and forecasting.


Ever wished you had an assistant – or two? If so, then you’re going to love automation. By passing off time-intensive everyday admin to software, you’ll feel less time pressure, especially during tax season. With the time automation will save you, you could even take on extra clients.


As an accountant, accuracy is one of your strengths. But you’re not infallible, and mistakes can be made. Data can be entered under the wrong account, decimal places can be missed, and totals can be off. With automated software, there is less chance of errors, as the calculations are done by computer, and as long as the numbers entered initially are correct, it’s basically impossible to make a mistake.


Time-consuming regular accounting tasks such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, late payment reminders, payroll, and even auditing can all be partially or fully automated.

We mentioned that with the time saved with automation, you could find yourself with hours to spare. By taking on more clients, you can increase your bottom line without any increase in expenditure (not counting the cost of the accounting software).

Client satisfaction

A more efficient, accurate accountant is a better accountant. Being able to get the job done rapidly and with a high degree of precision means happy clients and potentially a boost in business thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations.

Accouting Software vs Spreadsheets

What can ICPA offer?

The ICPA offers its members exclusive discounts on some amazing resources that are at the forefront of the automation of the industry.

From tax software, document management systems, payroll software and compliance tools, these systems will help with the day-to-day running of your practice while making you more efficient.

These include:

  • AccountancyManager – practice management software that cuts administration time, boosts efficiency, and helps your practice grow. For ICPA members, it’s just £25+VAT per month per user for 12 months.
  • Clear Books – an industry-leading online accounting software that creates reports, tracks assets and stock and allows you to manage finances and pay bills in a click. ICPA members receive a special 20% discount to Clear Books subscriptions.
  • Prelude – a ‘virtual accounts department’ with real-time integrated accounting VAT returns, bank and credit control and more. ICPA members receive a free subscription when they join us.
  • Inform Direct – secretarial software that automatically generates Companies House forms, minutes and resolutions and prepares documents and sends to clients for approval before submission. ICPA offers its members a 3 months free subscription.
  • AMLCCAMLCC’s compliance software features a suite of compliance tools to keep your practice in line with the anti-money laundering rules. Including policies and risk assessment as well as online training, auto-updates for new legislation and proof of compliance.
  • Tax Calc – fully HMRC-compliant tax return software that takes care of all your tax returns, whether individual, partnership, corporation or trust, with countless handy features to make your user experience quick and straightforward. ICPA members can claim two add-ons including encrypted PDF and Batch Filer free when they purchase a subscription.
  • QTac – payroll software that covers everything from pre-staging analysis, employee assessment, postponement, employee communications, pension provider communications and day-to-day autoenrollment management. ICPA members get 25% off QTac payroll software.
  • BTC software – while taking care of tax compliance and accounts preparation for both you and your clients, BTC software includes practice management and company secretarial functionality to streamline administration. ICPA members benefit from 10% off.
  • AutoEntry – this handy tool extracts information from receipts, invoices, and bank statements and inputs the information directly into your financial software, meaning there is no more manual inputting of invoices or receipts. ICPA members get a 25% discount for 6 months and can pass savings onto their clients, too.
  • TallyPro – this time tracking software automatically identifies ways to boost your practice’s profitability and efficiency. Tally Pro provides up-to-date metrics on a business’s position and profitability, whilst handling invoicing, expenses and reporting. ICPA members get an amazing 50% off for the first 12 months, and free customisations.

What’s the bottom line of automation in accounting?

Ultimately, automation replaces the dull tasks that don’t use your creativity and talents. Number crunching and data entry can be automated, but a machine will never match your knowledge, experience and commercial awareness.

Automation is undeniably the future of accounting. While it may shift the way you work, the benefits for your practice are immense. To tap into the full potential of automation and future-proof your career, joining the ICPA is a wise investment. With exclusive discounts on top-tier software, support resources, and a network of like-minded professionals, the ICPA empowers you to not only survive but thrive in this era of rapid technological changes.

We hope this article has shown you that you shouldn’t fear accounting automation but embrace it and make it work for you.

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