Deutsche Bank CEO: Accountants That Spend a Lot of Time "Being an Abacus" Will Likely Be Replaced by Robots

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Sep 7, 2017

John Cryan, the CEO of Deutsche Bank, didn't mince words at a recent Frankfurt conference, saying that a big number of his staff will be replaced with machines over the coming years, and called out accountants in particular as a likely casualty of this shift, according to the Guardian. Cryan, calling it a "sad truth," said that technological changes mean banks like his own just don't need as many people as they used to. This includes accountants, who he said "spend a lot of time basically being an abacus."

However he clarified that there would still be accountants at his bank, just not as many as before. He said that, for many accountants, a large part of their job is to produce numbers, something he felt machines could do in a fraction of the time. This, though, frees up time for the remaining accountants to analyze those numbers and form opinions on what they mean. 

While quite blunt, Cryan's line of thinking is not dissimilar to what's been said by other professionals about how technological changes will affect the accounting profession. The Trusted Professional recently completed a three-part series on what technologies could potentially disrupt the industry, what kind of world that will create for recent accounting graduates, and how firms are reacting to these changes. Industry leaders describe a shift where the accounting profession becomes less about producing data and more about interpreting what it means and identifying patterns within it. There is debate, however, over the degree to which this will affect staffing numbers overall. 

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