Accounting and Auditing Jobs Have Highest Risk for Automation, According to Recent Study

Posted By Terri Williams on February 12, 2016 at 10:04 am
Accounting and Auditing Jobs Have Highest Risk for Automation, According to Recent Study

College is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, so graduates expect a high return on investment. And while technology has made our lives easier and more convenient, it may also render some majors obsolete.

In “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization?” several jobs were scored on 9 factors to determine which jobs were more likely to be done by a computer.

The 4 most important traits were as follows:

  1. Do you need to come up with clever solutions?
  2. Are you required to personally help others?
  3. Does your job require you to squeeze into small places?
  4. Does your job require negotiation?

National Public Radio (NPR) created an animated guide based on the information.

Below are excerpts from the guide regarding jobs that typically require a college degree:

Job Chance of Being Automated
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Work 0.30%
Occupational Therapists < 1.0%
Dentists < 1.0%
Medical and Health Services Managers < 1.0%
Medical Scientists < 1.0%
Physicians and Surgeons < 1.0%
Teachers (Pre-school, Elementary, Middle, and High School) < 1.0%
Forensic Science Technicians 1.00%
Mechanical Engineers 1.10%
Pharmacists 1.20%
Marriage and Family Therapists 1.40%
Architects 1.80%
Natural Science Managers 1.80%
Art Directors 2.30%
Database Administrators 3.00%
College Professors 3.20%
Lawyers 3.50%
Writers 3.80%
Computer and Information Systems Managers 3.90%
Political Scientists 3.90%
Software Developers 4.20%
Editors 5.50%
Financial Managers 6.90%
Graphic Designers 8.20%
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 9.80%
Electrical Engineers 10.20%
Reporters and Correspondents 11.40%
Public Relations Specialists 17.50%
Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, Computer Network Architects 20.60%
Computer Hardware Engineers 22.50%
Financial Analysts 23.30%
Detectives and Criminal Investigators 33.60%
Economists 42.90%
Historians 43.90%
Computer Programmers 48.10%
Market Research Analysts 61.30%
Technical Writers 88.80%
Accountants and Auditors 93.50%

Skills that can’t be automated

Accountants and auditors are among those with the greatest chance of being automated, but if you’re an accounting student or recent grad, don’t be so quick to jump ship. Jeff Thomson, president and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants, tells GoodCall that technological advancements are changing the skills required for entry-level finance jobs, expanding the need for more analytical and strategic thinking.

According to Thomson, “Continuing education can provide a way to stay relevant and successful, including the management of data analytics – particularly as CFOs embrace more operational/technological functions in business – and development of a strategic mindset to move beyond cash flow management and innovate across the entire business value chain.”

So what else can limit the chances of a computer taking your job?

The vast majority of the jobs with a high probability of being automated do not require a college degree. Many administrative jobs, transportation jobs, and production jobs are most likely to be automated within one or two decades.

However, according to the report, it is difficult, if not impossible for computers to perform the following types of jobs:

Creative intelligence tasks, such as designing clothes, writing poems, composing music, and other original ideas that add value.

Social intelligence tasks, such as recognizing and responding to spontaneous human emotions, and being able to persuade or provide personal assistance.

Perception and manipulation tasks, such as finger dexterity (grasping and manipulating small objects), manual dexterity, and working in tight, awkward spaces.

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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