This paper presents a cognitive computing model, based on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, supporting task automation in the accounting industry. Drivers and consequences of task automation, globally and in accounting, are reviewed. A framework supporting cognitive task automation is discussed. The paper recognizes essential differences between cognitive computing and data analytics. Cognitive computing technologies that support task automation are incorporated into a model delivering federated knowledge. The impact of task automation on accounting job roles and the resulting creation of new accounting job roles supporting innovation are presented. The paper develops a hypothetical use case of building a cloud-based intelligent accounting application design, defined as cognitive services, using machine learning based on AI. The paper concludes by recognizing the significance of future research into task automation in accounting and suggests the federated knowledge model as a framework for future research into the process of digital transformation based on cognitive computing.