Accounting & Bookkeeping

What does the Increasing Role of AI mean for CPA Firms?

Written by Analytix Editorial Team | October 6, 2023

Emerging artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in the news. It transcends industries, and everyone is trying to find new ways to adopt the technology for its task automation and analytical capabilities, including certified professional accountants (CPAs). Understanding how to utilize AI in accounting and finance will ultimately help your CPA firm digitally transform into an industry and marketplace leader.

The Influence of AI in Today’s Industries

AI’s primary value is tied to the fact that it’s nearly the equivalent of having extra personnel on staff but for a fraction of the cost. That’s why every vertical, including manufacturing, healthcare, tech, and everything in between, is eager to adapt it into its daily operations.

Businesses can use AI to analyze vast amounts of data, receive performance-enhancing recommendations, and make more accurate predictions. There’s also the entire automated component of AI.

For instance, service and sales teams can use AI bots to engage customers, while marketing teams can generate ads, email campaigns, social posts, and other content on command.

AI in Accounting and CPA Firms 

While AI is constantly developing and improving, it’s already leaving a footprint in the CPA world. Nearly half (48%) of firms plan to invest in emerging AI tools by the end of 2023, and 91% report that this technology has already helped better support their customers. This emphasizes a concern on everyone’s mind: Will AI replace accountants?

The Use of AI in Accounting

To best understand the trends of AI in accounting, we should first cover the many ways it’s getting utilized:

  • Task automation: Accountants can use AI to complete mundane data management tasks, auto-complete bookkeeping entries, and generate financial reports or other client documents on command.
  • Data analysis and insights: AI can quickly analyze massive volumes of data to identify potential fraud at a company and catch errors on the ledger. It can also use client financial data to find trends and pinpoint new business growth or cost-saving opportunities.
  • Predictive analytics: AI for auditors can predict, based on inputs, whether a client is out of compliance with regulatory or industry standards. It can also help accurately forecast sales revenue, profitability, and future business growth potential.   

These use cases allow CPA firms to focus their time and effort on more strategic, big-picture activities while prioritizing improving their client relationships.

Benefits of AI in Accounting and Finance  

Adopting AI for auditors, CPAs, and accountants comes with a clear set of business and operational benefits:

  • Saves time: Employees can automate repetitive, mundane tasks they ordinarily do manually, like bookkeeping.
  • Reduces errors: Using automation and AI in accounting minimizes the need for task completion and data entry by people, which lowers the risk of human error.
  • Saves on costs: Because of its automation capabilities, AI requires fewer full-time employees in an accounting operation, and you can use its financial analysis tools to spot cost-cutting opportunities for both your business and your clients.
  • Better decision making: AI can uncover hidden insights in your datasets, such as new revenue opportunities or areas you can automate, to improve the CPA business overall.
  • Improved quality of services: Accurate analysis from AI can help clients avoid costly penalties for non-compliance and mishandled bookkeeping through its analysis tools.

How AI is Changing the CPA Role

AI is redefining a CPA’s scope of work and desired skill set. While the modern-day CPA still needs to grasp basic accounting principles and understand unique compliance requirements, they now have a major role to play in finding opportunities to deploy AI tools in their day-to-day activities.

Additionally, as more and more repetitive tasks are automated, CPAs must find new ways to differentiate themselves by possessing more interpersonal and communication skills that improve client relations.

CPAs also have a role in perfecting AI technology for accounting and finance operations. They will need to continue finding use cases and help guide the algorithms and machine learning (ML) programs that power AI to complete complex data analysis.

A Clear AI Adoption Roadmap

Adopting AI into your accounting operations can be exciting due to its potential upside. However, to avoid an expensive failed adoption project, developing a clear action plan is vital. Consider things like:

  • Overall business goals you want to achieve with AI (better productivity, cost savings, improved customer experience, etc.)
  • Specific challenges and processes you want AI to fix (bookkeeping, audits, etc.)
  • The current state of AI in your business
  • AI product and solution options
  • Digital transformation budget you can use on AI
  • Ways to involve stakeholders and get everyone onboard
  • Desired timeline to fully adopt new AI tools with key milestones like purchase, implementation, and skill development and training

Embrace AI for Sustained Growth

The role of artificial intelligence in accounting is constantly expanding. We encourage your firm to embrace the technological revolution and maximize the value of your accounting services.

Next Steps

Written by

Analytix Editorial Team
Analytix Editorial Team

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