The Wave of Generative AI: Shaping the Future of the Tax and Accounting Industry

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a revolutionary technology, pushing the boundaries of what companies can achieve regarding creativity and problem-solving. This trend is making waves across various industries, and the tax and accounting sector is no exception. With the ability to generate human-like text, images, and even entire financial models, generative AI is poised to transform the landscape of tax and accounting services.

The use of AI across the tax and accounting industry, when integrated correctly, has the power to:

  • Streamline the entire tax preparation process by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry and processing, improving data analysis, and enhancing customer experiences.
  • Identify real-time risks and ensure compliance with accounting regulations and standards, reducing the likelihood of errors and penalties.
  • Free up professionals’ time, allowing them to focus on more valuable initiatives and strategic tasks. Experts even predict that AI will create more than 97 million jobs by 2025.

A Critical Investment

Many experts believe that generative AI is the way of the future for the tax and accounting industry. That’s why many tech-driven conglomerates are investing in generative AI and infusing it into their daily operations. For example, the accounting firm KPMG is investing $2 billion in AI and cloud services to be part of its audit, tax, and advisory services for clients, joining other companies like Deloitte and PWC.

These investments are just starting to skim the surface of the future marriage of AI and accounting. According to the Intuit QuickBooks Accountant Technology Survey, almost 90% of accountants expect tech solutions to be part of their firm’s growth in 2023 and beyond.

Filling the Staffing Gap

Like nearly every other industry in America, the taxing and accounting sector is dealing with staffing shortages. The number of job postings in the U.S. accounting and audit sector hit 177,880 at the end of 2022, up from 141,340 the previous year. The increased disparities between open jobs and active job seekers directly result from an increase in older generations retiring and fewer people pursuing a degree in accounting. This leaves many companies to automate tasks previously performed by real people and frees accountants up to focus on providing high-level strategic advice to their clients.

Automating Tax Compliance and Reporting

The tax and accounting industry involves extensive paperwork, compliance checks, and reporting obligations. With generative AI, accountants and tax professionals can streamline their workflows by potentially automating the creation of financial statements, tax returns, and regulatory filings while upholding compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This automation reduces manual errors and thoroughly analyzes financial statements to detect discrepancies, highlight potential errors, and suggest appropriate corrective measures.

Efficient Data Management 

Generative AI allows professionals to leverage diverse datasets, enabling faster decision-making through scenario evaluation and informed choices. Historical data utilization allows firms to expedite predicting future trends, recognizing risks, and developing proactive planning and compliance strategies. Furthermore, AI algorithms analyze massive data volumes, swiftly and accurately detecting patterns and anomalies beyond human capability. This automation of complex processes offers a proactive approach to safeguarding assets and maintaining compliance.

AI’s Newest Breakthrough Technology: ChatGPT

ChatGPT, a generative AI tool that has reached unprecedented heights, is now accessible to the general public. However, it is essential to highlight that adopting technology like ChatGPT in tax and accounting should go hand in hand with solid data governance and ethical practices. Paying attention to maintaining the authenticity and excellence of the generated data, mitigating biases, and complying with data protection regulations are pivotal aspects that require careful consideration.

In closing, generative AI is undoubtedly revolutionizing the tax and accounting industry, offering transformative opportunities for automation, risk management, and personalized financial advice. Embracing this technology can enhance efficiency, accuracy, and client satisfaction. However, the industry needs to address the challenges surrounding bias, ethics, data security, and privacy to fully unlock the potential of generative AI and create a future where AI is performed with human oversight to deliver superior financial services. Continued innovation and responsible implementation will undoubtedly reshape the tax and accounting landscape, empowering businesses to thrive in the digital age.

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About Author

John McGowan is the founder and CEO of HubSync, a SaaS company with a next-generation tax and accounting automation platform created with the goal of changing how tax professionals work and how clients interact with CPA firms. Previously, John has over 25 years of experience driving technology innovation and investment at Deloitte and KPMG, where he served as a Partner-in-Charge of Tax Technology and the Global Chief Information Officer, respectively. John holds a BSBA and a Master of Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.