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Podcasts: How bots free us to focus on what matters most

Bots are the name of the game this week. They’re everywhere, and now they’re setting their sights on the accounting and finance world.

No one knows that better than our guest this week. Jody Padar built her “Radical CPA” brand as CEO of New Vision CPA Group near Chicago, and in January she was named vice president of strategy for Botkeeper, where she has been helping evolve A.I. technology based on customer feedback.

Jody spotted the potential of bots before most people in the profession did. She understood the power they offered — the power to free us from mindless, repetitive tasks so we can spend more time on the strategic, value-added things that are really going to make a difference.

We ask Jody about the potential of bots to transform our profession. As a future-focused accounting and finance professional, this is a conversation you need to pay attention to.

In this conversation, we cover:

  • What bots are and how they apply to our work.
  • How we train computers to learn from us.
  • Focusing on higher analytical tasks.
  • How to apply A.I. and bots to your work.
  • Adapting to changes in the industry.

Listen to our conversation here.

The bot revolution
If you’re not quite sure how to define bots, you’re not alone. It’s enough to know you’ve probably used a bot at one time or another. They’ve become so ubiquitous that we may not even know that we’re interacting with a piece of technology at all, and that’s kind of the point.

A bot is simply a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, these are tasks that are both simple and repetitive, which means these applications can do these things faster and more accurately than a human could.

Probably the most well-known examples are chatbots. If you’ve ever used the “Live Chat” function on a website, chances are you were interacting with a bot rather than chatting with a live human. But they’ve been used for other stuff too, like recruiting, marketing, and analytics.

And it wasn’t long ago that only the biggest companies with the deepest pockets could make use of bots. Two or three years ago, McCormick — the spice giant — was using Robotic Process Automation to automate the reconciliation of its global supply chain. They had accountants doing nothing but reconciliation. RPA helped them eliminate 38 of those jobs, and those people were then redeployed to higher-level analytics.

Eighteen months later, a company called Botkeeper — which they call automated bookkeeping with a human touch — is automating most general ledger systems. That’s right here, right now, for everyday folks — for even the smallest of companies.

That’s how fast these technologies are moving. We’ve gone from only the world’s biggest companies having the expertise and the money to play with these new technologies to everyone being able to take advantage of it.

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