Each student is required to prepare a business report regarding the below topic in 2 major sections:
1) What and how does future technological innovation such as artificial intelligence, clouds, and accounting software automation impact on accountant skills, ethics and career opportunities associated with various accountant designations in future?
2) Summary of the 4 selected journal articles referred in the above topic § At least 4 current journal articles (not before 2016) § 300 words per article at the end of the report
You will be assessed on below aspects of the assignment:
· Word limitation: 2,500 ±10%
· Required academic journal articles: minimum 8
· The final report is due by Sunday of week 14 (5 Pm)
· Report layout
Final Report Layout:
The final report should use an appropriate business report format and include:
1. A title page; include the full name and student number
2. Executive Summary
3. A table of contents (Calibri14 point);
4. Introduction (Calibri12 point);
5. Appropriate topic headings (Calibri16 point);
6. A detailed description on (Calibri 12 point):
a. What you have researched about current and future technology,
accountant skills and ethics and career opportunities for those who pursue
b. The technology, the accountant skills, the ethics and the career
opportunities you have researched may reflect an Australian viewpoint.
7. Conclusion or recommendation (Calibri12 point);
8. Reference (APA, Times new Roman, 11 point);
a. At least 4 selected journal articles used in the body of your report related to the assignment Topic
b. Any diagrams, charts, …
Current required accountant skills and ethics and current career opportunities associated with various accountant designations
No description provided
A very basic description provided with no detail
A good description that shows evidence of some thought and effort
An excellent description that shows evidence of good thought and knowledge
A creative description that engages the reader and shows evidence of excellent thoughts and knowledge
Future Technological Innovation: Strengths, Limitations and How new technology might be used in accounting field
No list or discussion of strengths and limitations of the technology provided
Brief list or discussion of strengths and limitations provided
Full list or discussion of strengths and limitations provided, covering many aspects
Detailed list of strengths and limitations provided together with good annotations or discussion
Very detailed, well-written list of strengths and limitations provided together with excellent description or
The onrushing wave
Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change
IN 1930, when the world was “suffering…from a bad attack of economic pessimism”, John Maynard Keynes wrote a broadly optimistic essay, “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren”. It imagined a middle way between revolution and stagnation that would leave the said grandchildren a great deal richer than their grandparents. But the path was not without dangers.
One of the worries Keynes admitted was a “new disease”: “technological unemployment…due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” His readers might not have heard of the problem, he suggested—but they were certain to hear a lot more about it in the years to come.
For the most part, they did not. Nowadays, the majority of economists confidently wave such worries away. By raising productivity, they argue, any automation which economises on the use of labour will increase incomes. That will generate demand for new products and services, which will in turn create new jobs for displaced workers. To think otherwise has meant being tarred a Luddite—the name taken by 19th-century textile workers who smashed the machines taking their jobs.
With the low-skilled workers far more numerous, at least to begin with, the lot of the average worker during the early part of this great industrial and social upheaval was not a happy one. As Mr Mokyr notes, “life did not improve all that much between 1750 and 1850.” For 60 years, from 1770 to 1830, growth in British wages, adjusted for Page13 inflation, was imperceptible because productivity growth was restricted to a few industries. Not until the late 19th century, when the gains had spread across the whole economy, did wages at last perform in line with productivity (see chart 1).
Along with social reforms and new political movements that gave voice to the workers, this faster wage growth helped spread the benefits of industrialisation across wider segments of the population. New investments in education provided a supply of workers for the more skilled jobs that were by then being created in ever greater numbers. This shift continued into the 20th century as post-secondary education became increasingly common.
Claudia Goldin, an economist at Harvard University, and Mr Katz have written that workers were in a “race between education and technology” during this period, and for the most part they won. Even so, it was not until the “golden age” after the second world war that workers in the rich world secured real prosperity, and a large, property-owning middle class came to dominate politics. At the same time communism, a legacy of industrialisation’s harsh early era, kept hundreds of millions of people around the world in poverty, and the effects of the imperialism driven by European industrialisation continued to be felt by billions.
The impacts of technological change take their time appearing. They also vary hugely from industry to industry. Although in many simple economic models technology pairs neatly with capital and labour to produce output, in practice technological changes do not affect all workers the same way. Some find that their skills are complementary to new technologies. Others find themselves out of work.
Take computers. In the early 20th century a “computer” was a worker, or a room of workers, doing mathematical calculations by hand, often Page14 with the end point of one person’s work the starting point for the next. The development of mechanical and electronic computing rendered these arrangements obsolete. But in time it greatly increased the productivity of those who used the new computers in their work.
Many other technical innovations had similar effects. New machinery displaced handicraft producers across numerous industries, from textiles to metalworking. At the same time it enabled vastly more output per person than craft producers could ever manage.
For a task to be replaced by a machine, it helps a great deal if, like the work of human computers, it is already highly routine. Hence the demise of production-line jobs and some sorts of book-keeping, lost to the robot and the spreadsheet. Meanwhile work less easily broken down into a series of stereotyped tasks—whether rewarding, as the management of other workers and the teaching of toddlers can be, or more of a grind, like tidying and cleaning messy work places—has grown as a share of total employment.
But the “race” aspect of technological change means that such workers cannot rest on their pay packets. Firms are constantly experimenting with new technologies and production processes. Experimentation with different techniques and business models requires flexibility, which is one critical advantage of a human worker. Yet over time, as best practices are worked out and then codified, it becomes easier to break production down into routine components, then automate those components as technology allows.
If, that is, automation makes sense. As David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), points out in a 2013 paper, the mere fact that a job can be automated does not mean that it will be; relative costs also matter. When Nissan produces cars in Page15 Japan, he notes, it relies heavily on robots. At plants in India, by contrast, the firm relies more heavily on cheap local labour. Even when machine capabilities are rapidly improving, it can make sense instead to seek out ever cheaper supplies of increasingly skilled labour. Thus since the 1980s (a time when, in America, the trend towards post-secondary education levelled off) workers there and elsewhere have found themselves facing increased competition from both machines and cheap emerging-market workers.
There will still be jobs. Even Mr Frey and Mr Osborne, whose research speaks of 47% of job categories being open to automation within two decades, accept that some jobs—especially those currently associated with high levels of education and high wages—will survive (see table). Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University and a muchread blogger, writes in his most recent book, “Average is Over”, that rich economies seem to be bifurcating into a small group of workers with skills highly complementary with machine intelligence, for whom he has high hopes, and the rest, for whom not so much.
And although Mr Brynjolfsson and Mr McAfee rightly point out that developing the business models which make the best use of new technologies will involve trial and error and human flexibility, it is also the case that the second machine age will make such trial and error easier. It will be shockingly easy to launch a startup, bring a new product to market and sell to billions of global consumers (see article). Those who create or invest in blockbuster ideas may earn unprecedented returns as a result.
In a forthcoming book Thomas Piketty, an economist at the Paris School of Economics, argues along similar lines that America may be pioneering a hyper-unequal economic model in which a top 1% of capital-owners and “supermanagers” grab a growing share of national income and accumulate an increasing concentration of national wealth. The rise of the middle-class—a 20th-century innovation—was a hugely important political and social development across the world. The squeezing out of that class could generate a more antagonistic, unstable and potentially dangerous politics.
The potential for dramatic change is clear. A future of widespread technological unemployment is harder for many to accept. Every great period of innovation has produced its share of labour-market Page21 doomsayers, but technological progress has never previously failed to generate new employment opportunities.
The productivity gains from future automation will be real, even if they mostly accrue to the owners of the machines. Some will be spent on goods and services—golf instructors, household help and so on— and most of the rest invested in firms that are seeking to expand and presumably hire more labour. Though inequality could soar in such a world, unemployment would not necessarily spike. The current Page22 doldrum in wages may, like that of the early industrial era, be a temporary matter, with the good times about to roll (see chart 3).
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