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Professor Bhimani delivered a plenary talk at Coimbra Business School at the 24th Workshop on Accounting and Management Control in Portugal. He spoke on 'Digitalisation and Intelligent Automation: The Impact on Accounting’. His address to an audience of business academics focused on the implications of the data growth that is ongoing and tied to the rise digitised business technology platforms. He discussed social and financial trends in the tech space and noted that extreme penetration of internet enabled mobile devices has led to the data explosion being witnessedtoday but that this is about to be dwarfed by the data deluge that artificial intelligence economy is starting to bring. He argued that the growth of data production will see pronounced increases through the spread of IoT twinned with AI agents and the more sophisticated devices able to pull together higher informational collection and analysis. This is triggering an intense ‘second’ data deluge. Professor Bhimani highlighted the accountant’s traditional involvement in aiding decision making through financial data representations and presented a new future whereby the machine age would fast alter existing domains of practice. Digitised enterprise environments are becoming digitalised and AI is retooling enterprises such that established accounting controls today must be questioned. Professor Bhimani identified a multitude of impacts on accounting researchers’ approaches to scholarly investigations. Not only do academics need to rethink the traditional focus on inductive vs deductive research but approaches to data collection and analysis subsumed within deductive-theoretical methods and paradigms underpinning actor network theory, neo-institutionalism and post-modernistic conceptions of change need to be reconsidered in the digitalised economy we now inhabit. He identified issues tied to digitisation’s inter-relationships with management practices which will require renewed thinking by scholarly researchers.
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