My good friend, Joe Woodard, has been giving a presentation for a few months now titled, "The Rise of the Machines" (I wonder where he got that title from). Joe's presentation covers the extent to which automation, robotics, super (super duper thinking and learning) computers will impact the accounting and bookkeeping industries.
At the end of July, I published an Insightful Accountant piece titled, "Robby the Robot Returns," in which I discussed, among other things, the fact that Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage, revealed at this year's Sage Summit that his company had been working on a smart "accounting assistant" named "Pegg."
Early Beta testing showed that Pegg actually could perform many back office accounting tasks – just as simply as you ask of something from Siri on your iPhone.
Based on Joe's observations and pronouncements, I theorized that it might not be too long until Pegg grew up into a full blown accountant who takes on the role of your robotic Chief Financial Officer.
This past week at Xerocon South, Xero unveiled an innovative chatbot codenamed, "Hey Xero." The chatbot will provide small businesses and their advisors with a completely new way to access the Xero ecosystem and their accounting data quickly from their platform of choice.
Available later this year, Hey Xero will have the capability to connect small businesses that use Facebook Messenger into the wider Xero ecosystem, opening a new way for businesses to discover the cloud accounting platform and find the right advisor for them.
By using Hey Xero, businesses will be able access the Xero Advisor Directory and get a recommendation for a suitable accountant or bookkeeper in their area. Xero subscribers also will be able to discover new apps in the Xero ecosystem and query their latest financial data, such as who owes them money or when their next bill is due.
I wish I could show you pictures of either of these "bots, but we never received graphics from Sage on "Pegg." And every time I try to download the graphics for "Hey Xero," the Google-server is so busy that my request stops halfway through. (And yes, I am too lazy to just keep trying.)
But what I really want to know is when "Pegg" will hook up with "Hey Xero" in a Battle of the Bots?
Are we expected to solely accept a war of words in such bot battles? And if that's to be, what bot-lingo will be spoken? It surely won't be just the 1s and 0s upon which these binary bots are based?
Won't there be some "bot blood" spilled?
What futuristic "blasters" will these bots employ in their battles?
Will one bot obliterate the other like I've seen in all those robot wars I use to watch on TV?
Or, will there be a third – yet to be to revealed – Bot contender waiting in the wings for Bot supremacy?
As for me, I'm betting that "Robby the Robot" shows up at the very end and blasts his way to the title of "Best Bot."