First the prequel.  This famous quote is from the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” and Dave is giving HAL 9000 an instruction.  HAL refuses to follow it because “he” learned how to read Dave’s lips and knew that Dave was getting ready to disconnect “him.”  I must say that even back in 1968 they somehow knew that we would be talking to a white box and asking it to do stuff for us.  Roll forward to 2018 and the new phrase is “Sorry, I can’t help you” or “I’m still learning”.  Does any of this sound familiar?

Who is “they” anyway?  There is this army of developers, engineers, visionaries, forward thinkers creating this thing called artificial intelligence or A.I. for short.  Or is “it” learning on its own and self-developing?  If you are like me, your brain starts to hurt if you think about it too hard.

There are many people who don’t even know what A.I. stands for and don’t even realize that they are exposed to it every day when they are shopping online, using Facebook and… taking care of their small business accounting.

The accounting industry is one of four industries predicted to be seriously impacted by A.I.  The other industries are healthcare, manufacturing and automotive.  But let’s have a discussion about accounting and finance since there is clearly plenty to talk about.  Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The GOOD – Your accounting advisor can work with you to choose the right products for your company, taking advantage of new and innovative technology and putting A.I. to work for you.   Let A.I. streamline your back office and build efficiencies into your workflow.

The BAD – As you implement and incorporate A.I. into your business, be smart.  Security should always be at the forefront of your mind.  It is safe to say that most businesses consider it standard operating procedures to secure their internet and work with their IT professional to prevent hardware and software security breaches.

More GOOD – Now it is time to start thinking about your data, including your financial data.  Your accounting advisor can help you move your accounting to a secure cloud platform like Xero or QuickBooks Online and help you choose the right cloud products to protect your data and accounting records.

The UGLY – Change!  Adapting to the world of A.I. is painful for many people.  If you are part of the “shoebox” generation for your receipt filing, this transition is especially hard.  On the other hand, if you are part of the latest generation, the transition is just par for the course.

More GOOD – Let me leave you on a seriously positive note for small business.  Technologies and resources that were previously only available to big business with accounting and human resource departments are now available to you, the small business owner.  Now, with cloud technology, it is possible to offer remote work options, outsource accounting and human resource functions and offer more benefits.

Whether you are streamlining your business, moving to the cloud, or outsourcing services, chances are you are already familiar with A.I.  Now that’s GOOD news.