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Mackay Goodwin pioneer AI ‘saves 30% of staff time’


Bespoke robotic process software can do a BAS in minutes and liberates staff for more valuable work, the firm says.

By Philip King 13 minute read

Insolvency firm Mackay Goodwin claims a pioneering move into artificial intelligence saves up to 30 per cent of staff time and pays off in increased clients and revenue.

It says the advantages are so significant it is now offering the bespoke system to accountants and others in the finance industry.

Mackay Goodwin CEO Domenic Calabretta said the firm took up the idea after a partner made the suggestion about three years ago, long before the excitement over ChatGPT.


The firm approached robotic automation specialist Missing Link to develop the software and implementation started slowly but expanded as the firm gained confidence in the technology.

“Initially, we sought to develop a time and cost-saving solution using robotic process automation to free up our advisers from BAS and invoicing tasks, allowing our team to have more time to provide strategic advice to clients,” he said.

The AI bots, dubbed Eric and Chloe, slashed the time taken to perform repetitive tasks such as invoicing or analysing bank statements and could produce a BAS in minutes while minimising errors.

“Now, instead of taking a full day to record the information from a 50-page bank statement, Eric and Chloe can complete the job in just minutes and for less money than an offshore human resource.

AI also incorporated machine learning, so Eric and Chloe could acquire the ability to read different bank statement formats and widen their repertoire.

“Eric and Chloe work like virtual employees, and we don't need to install any additional software to run them. They log in to our systems just like our human team members.

“Once you have told the system how something is done, it is literally like having a human running the process.
“To give you an example, with billings it's as simple as sending an email and specifying a new billing for this client and it just does what a human would do,  actually replicating the process that a human would do in regards to that function.”

“It’s subject to rules and data. But once you tell it where to look, it goes there, finds what it needs and then processes the data.”

Mr Calabretta said the system integrated with Core, used by the firm, but would also work with MYOB or Xero.

Mr Calabretta believed it was a first for the industry and Mackay Goodwin was reaping the benefits with revenue up about 20 per cent.

“It frees up 30 per cent of our staffs’ day. And what we have seen is it allows staff to actually work on value-adding work, which by providing more value, to our clients, we're getting more work.

“We're actually having to employ more staff because our clientele are increasing.”

He said it was just a matter of time before the rest of the finance industry embraced AI.

“I'd say in a few years practices that aren’t utilising the AI robotic process are definitely going be left behind.

“We are now offering the services of both Eric and Chloe to our clients within the accounting and finance sector, where we know they will also benefit from faster and more accurate accounting services.

“They always tell us there’s a shortage of labour, they're burdened with compliance work and administrative tasks, and this is definitely a solution for that problem.”

And at least while talent was in short supply, the threat to jobs was illusory.

“It is a concern that we thought about: Is this going to reduce work opportunities for staff in Australia?

“At the moment? Definitely no.”




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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

You can email Philip on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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