The term “robot” was first coined in the 1950s by famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and introduced a new era of fear and speculation about not just robots but other automated technologies. While science fiction, film, and other media explores the significance of our growing reliance on automated systems and artificial intelligence through fantastical and extraordinary scenarios, the everyday spaces of the office are the setting in which most of us encounter large-scale automation. Many technology repair occupations have already died out due to the intuitiveness of emerging technologies, and consumers now have the ability to resolve technology-related issues without assistance from a so-called “expert” because the consumer is now more likely to be an expert themselves.
Although these facts may instill fear about automated machinery and technologies like “robots” taking over the world and the economy, these fears are not warranted: software does not have a hierarchy of needs like humans, and therefore will never take over the economy because they do not stimulate demand for goods and other services.
It is true, however, that the automated technologies of today, like document management software, are replacing the minutiae of the accounting profession. Let’s take a look at the ways computers have been changing the landscape since Alan Turing’s invention of the Turing machine, to today’s document management systems.
Experts Say 30% of Jobs Could be Taken Over by Robots in the Next Decade
More companies are turning to automated software than ever before, and computers are indeed handling a myriad of routine administrative tasks that don’t require human judgement to be completed. However, instead of being done by robots as Asimov imagined, companies are reconfiguring software to get jobs done. Generally, this is done by transferring large amounts of data from many sources, like email and spreadsheets, to a single system of records.
The jobs taken over by computers are high volume, repetitive, and typically aren’t jobs that are completed well by humans. While the lack of real computer cognition makes it challenging for computers to handle many jobs we do, the jobs we do task them with are challenging for humans because we make errors. While some are concerned about the loss of jobs, it’s important to realize that the tasks being completed would be low-paying jobs that humans wouldn’t be particularly interested in.
The other issue to consider is that when jobs are taken over by machines, new jobs are often created for humans. Evidence currently shows that job loss resulting from automated commands is minimal, except through natural attrition. That is, people whose positions are not filled after they leave their jobs.
What People Often Aren’t Thinking About
There are of course people who stress about job losses to automation, but there’s one thing they often don’t consider: there has been an explosion of data that’s simply unprecedented. While it’s easy to assume workers are threatened, the reality is that many employees are grateful to work on more interesting projects while computers work on the tedious tasks they used to be in charge of.
How Do Document Management Systems Factor in?
One of the many ways in which technology has improved the workplace is through the creation and implementation of document management systems (DMSs) like eFileCabinet. While DMSs are applicable to a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to call centers, today we’re going to look at the ways they’ve helped the accounting world simplify their workflow.
In their purest form, document management systems are essentially an online filing cabinet. Instead of storing physical filing cabinets onsite, which take up valuable space and are vulnerable to a number of serious security threats, a DMS allows organizations to store their documents electronically. Documents can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, which makes DMS options a great choice for industries that see workers often work from home or on the road.
However, they are a lot more than just filing cabinets. A DMS can help accounting firms and practices manage:
- Client tax records
- Benefit elections
- Insurance information
- Payroll documents
- Workers Compensation documents
DMSs also help make accounting firms compliant by offering:
- Automatic backup that protects data from system failure
- 256-bit encryption of data both when it’s in transit and at rest for total confidentiality protection
- Audit trails that show which users access and change documents
- A high level of encryption that safeguards data
- Role-based permissions that limit access to private and confidential data
- A wide range of additional security features compliant with SEC and FINRA standards
The Difference Between Document Management and Cloud Storage
As companies look for ways to automate their systems, they often assume that DMS is the same thing as cloud storage. The reality is that the many options from eFileCabinet offer much more than just a place to store documents. We provide all the tools organizations need to share and manage their workflow. Organizations that want to make their offices more efficient and effective turn to DMS to reduce redundancy and increase the time their employees spend handling tasks that matter.