The Role of Internet-Related Technologies in Shaping the Work of Accountants: New Directions for Accounting Research

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Abstract

This paper reviews the accounting literature that focuses on four Internet-related technologies that have the potential to dramatically change and disrupt the work of accountants and accounting researchers in the near future. These include cloud, big data, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, access to distributed ledgers (blockchain) and big data supported by cloud-based analytics tools and AI will automate decision making to a large extent. These technologies may significantly improve financial visibility and allow more timely intervention due to the perpetual nature of accounting. However, given the number of tasks technology has relieved of accountants, these technologies may also lead to concerns about the profession’s legitimacy and the role of accountants. The findings suggest that scholars have not given sufficient attention to these technologies and how these technologies affect the everyday work of accountants. Research is urgently needed to understand the new kinds of accounting required to manage firms in the changing digital economy and to determine the new skills and competencies accountants may need to master to remain relevant and add value. The paper outlines a set of questions to guide future research.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Accounting Review
Early online date25 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019