Accountants will not be replaced by AI but instead by those in the industry that know how to best leverage it.
Firms should embrace AI to increase efficiencies
Firms should embrace AI in its ability to increase efficiencies and not be concerned by its possibility to take jobs away, says Sarah Lawrance, founder and CEO of accounting firm Hot Toast.
Ms Lawrance said while the evolving technology may remove the need for some of the transactional work accountants have traditionally done, she believed it should be seen as a positive.
She said AI programs could provide rudimental coding and the like to increase efficiencies within the workplace.
“For basic coding, basic Excel formulas and macros it’s been a real win and it has made the girls more efficient,” said Ms Lawrance.
“I’m just excited to see where it goes.”
“In the next five years we’re going to see a lot of that transactional work fall away, fantastic, what we want to be doing is having healthy conversations with clients and moving the needle for them.”
“I think with what we’re seeing with AI, where they’re going to be driving efficiencies around that transactional work over the next five years this is really a moment for us to step up, level up as an industry and go, how do we present to our clients and what’s the value that we can offer them.”
Ms Lawrance encouraged the use of AI technology to push the productivity of businesses within the industry. However, she said inputting client data into the open source programs was a no-go but instead advised it to be used for what she described as “low-hanging fruit.”
“I was probably one of the first people to kind of jump on ChatGPT and start stress testing it around what it could look like for our workflows,” said Ms Lawrance.
“I think there’s really low-hanging fruit in terms of obviously content, marketing content, rinse and repeat kind of EDM, email marketing and entry-level coding and excel formulas.”
To those concerned AI could take jobs away from the industry, Ms Lawrance said it should instead be viewed as a tool to enhance the industry’s capabilities.
“AI won’t take your job, the accountant that knows AI will take your job,” she said.
“I’m so excited with what AI is going to do for this industry in the next five years.”
“I’m so excited by the major players like Xero and what they’re doing in terms of technology and data, it’s a really exciting time to be in the industry, we’re going to become 30 per cent more productive.”
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