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Artificial intelligence set to ‘augment’ accountants

A surge in demand for information around the government’s stimulus package has resulted in a mid-tier launching an artificial intelligence tool that will help its accountants deal with more complex issues.

Technology Aidan Curtis 25 May 2020
— 2 minute read

RSM Australia has now launched a chatbot, dubbed RAMI, utilising artificial intelligence to deal with the influx of frequently asked client questions around COVID-19 stimulus measures.

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RAMI, which stands for robotic automated machine interface, was designed to give clients answers to common stimulus-related questions, while simultaneously learning and adapting to new announcements to continue giving up-to-date information.

The “industry-first” chatbot is set to follow a set of guided questions or answer an open-text question with the option of connecting clients to a human adviser.

“Once the government began announcing its financial stimulus packages such as JobKeeper, tax incentives and more, business owners began asking questions,” RSM chief information officer Paul Joseph said.

“The packages are complex and they’re changing all the time, making it difficult for business owners to stay on top of what they’re eligible for.

“It was essential to deliver a solution that could stay up to date with these changes.”

Mr Joseph told Accountants Daily he sees the potential for more widespread use of AI in the accounting profession to augment knowledge and service delivery in the future.

Mr Joseph said the use of AI will help free up time for accountants to focus on other tasks while the common queries are dealt with digitally.

“You want it to replace the components that aren’t adding value, so things that are repetitive or things that are prone to errors,” Mr Joseph said.

“We’re already seeing now in other industries where AI is being used to increase the level of accuracy in decision-making, so its not being used to replace the decision-maker; its used to improve the decision-making.” 

Mr Joseph acknowledged concerns around AI replacing accountants, but he believes the human element of accounting will still be crucial to clients.

“Accountants will continue to be that valued, trusted adviser and confidante of the client,” he said.

“So, its [AI] not seen as a mechanism to replace the human component, but more so to augment delivering a better and richer client experience.”

Mr Joseph also noted the potential for expanding the use of AI, with RSM Australia having plans to build on RAMI with future chatbots to address “tricky topics”.

He said it was currently unclear what those tricky topics could be, however, as they would be reliant on changes in the industry.

“If you had asked me four months ago if I would have used AI for chatbots, COVID-19 wouldnt have been in the equation,” he said.

“So, theres a component here where I cant predict because were not going to know what else is there.

“In terms of current requirements, AI could be used for other areas of the business. For example, dealing with queries around recruitment; theres a potential for us in utilising AI in terms of enhancing our recruitment programs for professionals.”

Artificial intelligence set to ‘augment’ accountants
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