Five reasons to be optimistic about AI: Perspectives from consulting and accounting

Five reasons to be optimistic about AI: Perspectives from consulting and accounting

Publish Date Jun 26 2024
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Read this if you are interested in artificial intelligence (AI).

Everyone is talking about AI right now. With the technology accelerating so fast, companies and individuals are struggling to figure out the impacts: Will it be helpful for businesses? Will it be harmful for employees? Will it change the way we work? 

The thought leaders at BerryDunn have been exploring the technology and ways it may benefit our clients moving forward—both for accounting services and for broader consulting services. Here are five reasons we're optimistic about the future of AI in business. 

  1. AI has the potential to complete menial, time-consuming, and error-prone tasks faster and more accurately.
    BerryDunn’s Kathy Parker, Practice Leader for the firm’s Outsourced Accounting Group, recently shared her thoughts with MassCPAs, stating that “Our approach to clients has always been to act as their consultant and advisor, and AI won't change that. What we are starting to see is that AI software has the potential to reduce the manual work we do, which will free up time so we can do what we do best. I expect that AI will start to take care of things more reliably like automatic scanning, basic tax preparation, and some functions that take up a lot of staff time.” 
  2. AI may free up resources so businesses can be more strategic.
    AI can help complete time-consuming tasks, saving time and staff resources to focus on more strategic initiatives. Parker is excited to think about adding more value to her clients by providing more strategic planning, benchmarking, and advisory services that will contribute to their success. She shared that “Clients are starting to recognize that AI can reduce the burden on accountants, and they're beginning to expect more from us. They don't just want our calculations, they want our expertise, and that's fantastic. Clients want to know how they compare with their competitors, and they want to know how to be proactive about their growth. They want dashboards to be able to easily see where they stand and they're looking for more sophisticated deliverables.”
  3. AI could reduce the price of some services. 
    Parker also shared her view of how AI may affect prices for services such as tax and accounting. “Businesses may also expect to see a different fee schedule, given the potential reduced workload that AI could bring. Of course, that reduced workload will allow service providers to raise the bar in other, potentially more significant, areas of their business.”
  4. AI could improve decision making for businesses.
    Tucker Cutter, a Senior Manager with BerryDunn’s higher education consulting team, believes that AI has the potential to significantly improve decision making for any business. His work focuses on the nexus of technology and people, helping higher ed institutions manage large-scale digital transformation projects. “I’m looking forward to seeing how AI will help us provide high quality decision-making guidance through enhanced data analysis and predictive analytics,” he shared. Once tools have been vetted and tested to prove their accuracy and reliability, AI has the potential to analyze data much faster than could be done manually by humans.
  5. Clarity on the best use cases for AI will emerge.
    If you’re not inclined to be an early adopter, know that you’re not alone. Just as with any other technological revolution, there are still a lot of unknowns. It makes sense to be cautious, especially when you’re dealing with sensitive data. As the dust settles, you’ll be able to learn from the experience of early adopters about what works and what doesn’t. At BerryDunn, our consultants are keeping an eye on the technology and how it may impact processes, systems, and outcomes. 

    Cutter shared his approach to staying current on AI technologies so he can advise his clients, stating that “We need to understand how to use these platforms and tools as well as stay well-versed in AI/technology governance strategies. For the good of our clients, we are still responsible for keeping data strategy at the forefront even if it’s not top-of-mind for our clients.” Clarity won’t emerge overnight, but in the coming months and years, we’re confident that a healthy balance between what’s best for business and what’s best for people will be possible. 

To discuss these topics and more in-person, be sure to come say hi to BerryDunn at the upcoming 2024 Family Office & Wealth Advisor Forum, July 15 - 17 in Chicago!