Can software really do an accountant's job?

No. But it can do some of the jobs accountants do, probably the bits you least like doing.

It was way back in August 2011 when Marc Andreessen famously declared that "Software is eating the world". His message was that "all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale". So, what does this mean for the accountancy industry?

Martin Ford suggests some thought-provoking theories in his book The Rise of the Robots - the main thrust being that traditional white-collar professions, like accountancy, need to adapt to the challenge already coming from new technology.

As machine intelligence advances, inexorably and exponentially, those of us who make a living from what we have in our heads, rather than what we do with our hands, will need to react. We'll need to recognise where the real value of our experience, expertise and intuition lies and concentrate our efforts there. We can only do that if we remove ourselves from the repetitive, routine, predictable work that computers will soon be able to do better than us. And at almost no cost.

Of course, the professional landscape is not going to change overnight, as some would have us believe, but it will. You will probably already recognise the evidence around you - in small pockets of new technology and new software, all of which will eventually coalesce.

The trick now is to accept that if something can be done by software it will be. Look for these opportunities and embrace them, let automation take away your grunt work and enjoy doing the clever, more valuable stuff instead.