More than half of accountants believe that generative AI could be used for tax and accounting workflows, but there is a lack of trust in its reliability
Nearly three-quarters (74%) said that ChatGPT and generative AI could be applied to tax, accounting and audit workflows, found research by Thomson Reuters. Despite the interest in AI, only 12% were either currently using or planning to integrate AI into their work. Four out of 10 (39%) accountants could see the possibility of a widescale rollout of the technology within the next six months.
For many, the potential uses for generative AI were promising, with 83% of tax professionals saying it would be helpful with tax research. This was followed by back office functions and accounting/bookkeeping (70%), compliance (67%) and assisting with tax returns (65%).
Despite this, concerns around its limitations and risks are paramount with 17% reporting having received warnings on the unauthorised use of AI at work, with some firms banning the technology completely (13%).
Firms were concerned about privacy and security of information, on top of a lack of controls over algorithms and the reliability of the information AI provides.
They also mentioned the risks that junior staff might become ‘too reliant’ when using the technology, which might hamper technical competence.
Piritta van Rijn, global head of product at Thomson Reuters, said: ‘Generative AI has the capacity to disrupt and redefine our professional landscape by improving efficiency, reducing errors and boosting client experience. However, it’s clear that there’s a trust gap with professionals.
‘Promoting ethical data and AI principles, establishing trusted AI frameworks and educating professionals will be crucial in bridging this gap.
‘For now, many professionals are adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach. Even if they are optimistic about the potentially transformative impact of generative AI, they plan on focusing on how the technology develops before they roll it out across their organisation.
‘Education will go a long way to increasing the usage of generative AI. Many professionals are still unaware of what benefits this technology can bring and how their organisation can best leverage its potential.
‘Tax professionals taking a hands-on approach in exploring the technology, and firms and departments adopting generative AI policies will likely increase confidence and accelerate more widespread use.’
Source: Accountancy Daily 25 July 2023