AR: Prepared for the Next Generation Accounting Practice?

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Hitendra Rathore

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

Have you been enhancing your selfies with bunny ears and whiskers on Snapchat? Maybe you prefer cat ears and whiskers, or something else. However, funny stickers are not our focus of attention in this article. Instead, we are emphasizing a subtle combination of a real world image and a digital impression.

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Augmented Reality (AR) is a similar concept, a technology where real-world data interacts with the digital manifestations to impart an in-depth perspective. It enables individuals to face real-world scenarios in a better way. Pokémon  Go is the perfect example of augmented reality wherein, you search Pokémon in a real-world environment, like your bedroom or a shopping mall in your city.

The concept of augmented reality has been lingering for a long time, and now, you can expect significant development as companies, such as Google, Apple, and others, are investing heavily in this technology. While augmented reality is gaining prominence in gaming, healthcare, and tourism industry, the technology is applicable in the accounting sector as well.

How can augmented reality transform the accounting industry? Accounting tasks can be simplified and enhanced by integrating augmented reality with the pre-existing accounting software, apps, systems, manual procedures, and so on.

How to Get ready for the Next Generation Accounting Practice?

1. Interacting with Clients

As an independent accountant or a representative of an accounting firm, interaction with clients is necessary for business development. Augmented reality can transform interactions with the clients, rendering a more customized and personalized approach.

  • The Present Scenario

You must be aware of the present ways of interacting with your potential clients. Having live conversations over voice calls or video calls and delivering presentations over video conferencing are some of the means of communicating with the clients. If you want to engage with potential leads, you can attend seminars and conferences. Although these methods are useful when your aim is business development, there are limitations in the process.

  • The AR Scenario

    Augmented reality can completely transform the way you interact with the clients. Let’s say you have to deliver a presentation to the client. With the help of an AR headset, you can give voice commands to project figures and graphs on the projector screen. Further, with a swipe of your finger, you can change the content.

    This is possible during an online as well as offline presentation. While interacting with a client on a video call, you can project relevant content by simply giving voice commands or permit complete access to financial records.

2. Preparing Financial Statements

Dealing with financial statements like profit & loss statements, balance sheets, and other reports can be a hectic affair, and the possibility of erroneous calculations is quite high. Augmented reality can organize the process to increase overall efficiency.

  • The Present Scenario

The accountants take accounting journal and general ledger into consideration while preparing financial statements. The process involves handling the massive amount of data, scrutinizing this data, and finally entering it to make statements. While there are accounting tools to manage these accounting practices, it can increase the process efficiency up to a certain level. The chances of discrepancies still exist as data visualization is not well-organized and not easily accessible. The scope of managing tasks reduces because you cannot enhance the screen size as per your requirements.

  • The AR Scenario

The augmented reality is capable of successfully addressing these issues. The most prominent solution offered by AR is data visualization. Imagine projecting data in 3D and 2D format on the wall in front of you.

Wear an AR headset, and instruct the machine by using voice commands or gestures to project information in front of you. You can easily manage data, without the need to type commands and examine folders with a finger swipe to extract information.

A similar concept has been introduced in the financial services sector. CitiBank has collaborated with Microsoft HoloLens platform to create Holographic Workstation, enabling 3D holographic visualization of real-time economic data.

3. Conducting Audits

An audit is compulsory in every industry; the accounting sector is no exception. The technology plays a crucial role in accomplishing the task of conducting a review. Augmented reality finds numerous applications when it comes to auditing.

  • The Present Scenario

To conduct an audit, a team of accounting professionals is formed. A systemized procedure and a checklist of tasks are designed to accomplish the job most efficiently. The accounting audit deals with analyzing financial records as well as inspecting physical assets.

In addition to these, compliance with the government rules and regulations is also scrutinized. As you can see, the auditing job seems sophisticated and time-consuming. While it’s easy to perform internal audits, you require considerable efforts for conducting an external review.

  • The AR Scenario

The integration of augmented reality can completely alter the auditing job. The inspection of financial records will be a cakewalk as you can access everything with a predefined set of commands. You can manage the checklist with your voice commands.

As you walk through the premises, the AR application will identify the GPS coordinates, locate the physical assets, and furnish complete information about them.

4. Working in a Team

The accounting software enables you to have seamless communication with your employees or team members, whether they are present in the same premise or at a distant location. The integration of augmented reality ensures a higher level of engagement, resulting in an efficient workflow.

  • The Present Scenario

    Interacting with your team is similar to interacting with the clients. However, you share more significant insights with your team and therefore, you need a reliable platform for effective collaboration. Currently, the available software and applications allow accountants to share information, communicate via chat and video calls, perform calculations, analyze performance, and interact with the clients. The functioning seems efficient, but there is a lot of scope for improvisation.

  • The AR Scenario

    The augmented reality can enhance decision-making capabilities of the employees. While you are discussing with your team, utilize AR powered headsets to organize data, project 3D simulations, and much more. With the help of AR projections, you can discuss work in real-time. Imagine communicating with team members, present at different locations, to analyze data in a 3D format.

5. Adopting Technology

If you haven’t adapted to the latest technological changes in the accounting domain, you may be lagging behind your competitors. The concept of augmented reality is in its infancy, but you must be aware of the recent developments in the AR domain.

  • The Present Scenario

    At present, there are service providers who develop ERP software, specially designed for accounting practices. These systems can simplify calculations, enhance communication, and can assist you in preparing an organized workflow.

    Since accounting is more about accuracy and data management, accounting software emphasizes these parameters. The automation takes care of the majority of the tasks, allowing you to focus on business development.

  • The AR Scenario

    The augmented reality goes a step further as it increases the efficiency of the accountants. For example, instead of manually shuffling tabs on your laptop screen, use gestures or voice commands to switch tabs. This further automates the accounting process, reducing the need for manual intervention.

    A GE technician used AR headsets while performing wiring insertions in a wind turbine. The voice commands directed the technician to insert wires at particular slots, eliminating the need to refer the paper-based manual. The company witnessed a rise of 34.5% in productivity when AR headsets were used for the wiring job. This is a classic example of increasing productivity using augmented reality.

Augmented Reality – The Future Scope 

According to Goldman Sachs, the virtual and augmented reality market will be worth $80 billion by 2025. Since augmented reality deals with enhancing the real world components, it finds application in all the industries. The AR has already created disruptions in the healthcare, video gaming, and tourism industry. The technology is ready to influence other sectors as well. Talking about the accounting sector, it will take time to integrate augmented reality with the existing technology. But since accounting is an integral component of every business, you can expect rapid development shortly.

Key Challenges in Implementing Augmented Reality

Although the augmented reality is the future, specific challenges may affect its growth, such as:

  • The high cost of development and implementation

When Google Glass was launched at a selling price of $1500, it created quite a stir. But it soon lost importance when people realized it didn’t have any significant impact. As the AR is in the development stage right now, high capital is required to come up with useful AR tools that can transform the workflow, rendering benefit to the users.

  • Getting Accustomed to AR

Editing selfies and playing AR games sound happening. But when we talk about AR in technical work, such as accounting and healthcare, it takes time adjusting to it. The developers face the challenge of simplifying the involved mechanisms, imparting intuitiveness, and enhancing user experience.

Conclusion

The augmented reality can prove to be yet another technology that can transform the way accounting job is done. Whether you are into accounting business or a freelancer or a company, you should cope up with the latest developments in the augmented reality arena.

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Hitendra is the Digital Marketing Executive and Content Analyst at SoftwareSuggest and loves helping people plan, optimize and launch marketing & content strategies. While digital marketing is his primary job function by day, hitendra also enjoys spending time with his family and listening to music.

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