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AI: Transforming Accounting

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is beginning to play a role in the accounting industry, with firms like EY and PwC using AI technology in their auditing and financial review procedures. This technology has the potential to provide a more accurate and complete picture of a company’s finances at a more affordable cost. Accounting software provider SAP has released an AI assistant called Joule, while Oracle, NetSuite, and other major providers are also incorporating AI capabilities into their financial products.

However, it’s important to note that AI in accounting is still in the early stages. A recent survey found that AI struggled to solve accounting problems, particularly those involving tax, financial, and managerial assessment. AI’s output is based on probability rather than accuracy, making it difficult for AI to handle numerical problems. As a result, AI features are not heavily featured in accounting applications, and research firm Gartner barely mentions AI in its report on cloud enterprise resource planning systems.

Software vendors themselves are also acknowledging that their AI offerings are still in development. PwC’s AI technology has not been fully disclosed, and SAP’s Joule is still being rolled out. Although NetSuite has touted its AI tools, most of the features in its new iterations have little to do with AI.

While AI in accounting has potential, it will take time for the technology to be fully developed and incorporated into financial processes. Accountants and financial professionals should prioritize cleaning up databases, attending vendor conferences, and understanding how these tools can help improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. By preparing now, accountants can be ready to fully utilize AI technology when it is ready for prime time.

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