Best Practices

AI for Accountants: How AI Will Impact How Accounting Work Gets Done in 2023

Explore the future of accounting through AI with insights from industry leaders. Learn about AI's transformative potential and its impact on productivity, efficiency, client communication, data quality, and the changing roles of accountants.

Recapping on the webinar from accounting industry leaders including Pixie founder Celso Pinto, here we share the immediate and predicted changes accountants need to know about in the world of artificial intelligence.

As we dive into the world of artificial intelligence, it's clear that significant changes are on the horizon. Our work is changing, with the capability these tools now bring to our profession. 

Founders and tech experts in the accounting industry recently shared their insights into what you can expect from AI in 2023 and beyond. 

Here we explore the transformative power of AI and its impact on the accounting landscape.

1. Eye on AI for the next big thing

According to Jason Staats from Realize, every task we currently perform is on a path to extinction. Brave words. With that paradigm in mind, Jason recommends the key is to embrace AI and leverage it to enhance our work. 

By investing time in learning how to work alongside new AI assistants, accountants can benefit from improved productivity.

However, it's worth considering how to use AI responsibly. Tom Herbert, Technology Editor at Accounting Web, recommends accountants look before they leap. Rather than blindly following the herd, the first step is considering how each new tool can solve critical problems specific to each firms’ clients.


2. Moving Up the Value Chain

AI is enabling smart machines to perform tasks that previously required human intelligence. This shift is elevating the role of accountants, allowing them to focus on more interesting and valuable aspects of their work.

As highlighted by Tom Herbert, it's a win-win situation. Smart machines can handle repetitive tasks, freeing up time for accountants to engage in higher-value activities. Then they can provide some solution to the recruitment and retention crisis, with more interesting and productive work for the profession.


3. Benefits of Productivity, Efficiency, and Data Quality

Stephen Edginton, Chief Product and Technical Officer at Dext, aptly quotes Arthur C. Clarke to describe what AI means: "Any sufficiently advanced technology that is indistinguishable from magic." 

AI offers numerous benefits, including increased productivity, improved efficiency, enhanced data quality, and accuracy. With AI-powered tools, such as Pixie, accountants can streamline their workflows, make faster decisions based on better data, and leverage cloud-based solutions for easy collaboration.

Pixie Founder, Celso Pinto, warns caution though. These tools sometimes ‘hallucinate’, and while the words are right, the meaning is wrong. 


“We’re still at a stage which is not quite ‘magical’ yet. Sometimes it might feel like it when AI gets things right, but the tools still need human reinforcement,” Celso Pinto, Founder of Pixie.


4. The Role of AI in Client Communication

AI's capabilities extend beyond number-crunching. Pixie Founder Celso Pinto highlights the ability of AI to read and respond to client emails efficiently. 

Using AI algorithms, Pixie can suggest replies to common queries, allowing accountants to review and send responses quickly. 

However, it's essential to maintain data privacy and manage compliance. Closed private tools like Pixie, rather than public tools like ChatGPT, can be safer when sharing client information. Pixie has solved the problem of isolating data access across multiple clients who are using shared resources. This ensures that sensitive client information is always protected.

Accountants should consider tweaking staff onboarding manuals to insist on not sharing client data on ChatGPT.

Related: Should You Automate Client Communication?


5. Enhancing Quality and Accuracy

AI has the potential to enhance the quality and accuracy of accounting work. Through proper training and a feedback loop involving human oversight, AI models can achieve high accuracy levels. It’s helpful to consider that AI tools are not meant to replace humans entirely. Instead, they serve as powerful aids, absorbing vast amounts of data and offering valuable insights.

Embracing AI is becoming essential for accountants to stay competitive and productive in the ever-evolving industry.


6. A Question of Context: Who is Accountable?

Stephen Edginton, Chief Product and Technical Officer at Dext, raises thought-provoking concerns regarding whether clients will still turn to accountants if AI bots can effectively answer their questions. This raises the question of accountability. 

Edginton emphasises that the value lies in the questions asked of the AI, and context is key. To maximise the success of these tools, they need to be directed in the right way, allowing accountants to support more clients and offer deeper, holistic support akin to a CFO. 

Contextual understanding remains a valuable skill that accountants bring to the table in their quest to offer holistic support to clients. Complex inquiries such as deciding on corporate status for the client and optimal dividend salary splits can be given more careful consideration, while repetitive calculations and tasks can be removed. 

Edginton suggests the prospect of roles like automation experts being part of the accounting industries and emphasises the importance of checking the data fed into these tools to avoid breaches.


Beyond 2023.

AI is set to reshape the accounting profession in 2023 and beyond. By embracing AI specialists and adopting responsible practices, accountants can unlock new levels of efficiency, accuracy, and client service.

So, get ready to ride the wave of AI and embrace the future of accounting with open arms!

To view the webinar, download here.

Remember, Pixie is here to accompany you on this exciting journey, providing you with the tools and capabilities to harness the power of AI in your accounting practice.


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