Generative AI and the CPA Profession – March 28, 2023

We’ve had a conversation about AI and its implications for the economy and jobs for a long time. There’s always been speculation on the implications, specifically about robotics and how that can impact specific jobs.

It’s always felt like professionals like CPAs, lawyers and others that work in the knowledge economy would have to make some adjustments and work with artificial intelligence, but didn’t feel like AI would be a significant threat.

But now, there’s a sense that this could threaten some of the work we do as CPAs, such as analyzing financial information. There is an opportunity to use this technology in ways that are helpful for the profession but may also make some of our skills seemingly redundant. Does that put our profession at risk? At this point, no. Generative AI is prone to making things up and not providing facts, and its source data reliability is suspect and questionable regarding privacy. This is a problem for CPAs if we take the responses from generative AI and start to use it.

That threatens the things that people value the most in CPAs – We are trusted, we speak the truth, and we are relied on. We have to think about where generative AI could make our work more effective but with the idea that we are not giving away what we do well as a profession, which is our critical thinking and professional skepticism, to generative AI.