AI and the future of the accounting profession

As CPAs, our role has never been more relevant or important. We have a responsibility to the public to build trust in our capital markets to ensure that there is reliable, quality information that stakeholders can use to make decisions. But as society and the business environment continue to change, CPAs must also take steps to adapt by introducing new technologies — such as artificial intelligence — and meeting new market needs.

At PwC, we make a series of investments in areas that are critical to building trust and delivering results for companies, including new technologies. These investments are critical to our clients, stakeholders, employees and the success of our firm, and I am proud to help lead these initiatives with the US leadership team. For example, the firm recently announced a $1 billion investment to expand and expand our AI offerings to help clients reimagine their businesses through the power of generative AI.

And it doesn’t stop there. At Audit, we are investing an additional $1 billion globally to build an innovative new technology ecosystem that will help standardize, streamline, centralize and automate our audit work and enable our teams to deliver a faster and better experience for our clients at PwC. network. This is critical. This initiative brings consistent technology, processes and standards across our complete global network. The new software will enable fully integrated, end-to-end auditing by managing the relationship between client data and audit capabilities (eg visualization, analytics and risk assessment) with machine learning and AI in streamlined, streamlined processes. This multi-year, technology-enabled transformation of our global assurance business will boldly innovate our audit performance and expertise.

So what does this mean for our clients and our people? It will create a more seamless and efficient experience for our customers by minimizing disruption, reducing burden and delivering information and quality. And for our people, the new platform will allow them to further embrace technology and automation to focus on the higher risk, more judgmental areas of our assurance that require a higher level of critical thinking. Overall, we believe this will create a better experience and improved quality and efficiency throughout the audit cycle.

New technology, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, will help advance the accounting profession, but it is only one part of our work and cannot replace the judgment and experience of human auditors. Many well-known AI systems are built on linguistic models, but for AI to be successfully incorporated into accounting, it must be built on a model of life, including measurement and severity, probability and value estimation. This is just one of the many reasons why AI and technology cannot replace the valuable work done by CPAs.

As accountants, we need to use technology – along with our emotional intelligence, judgment and professional skepticism – to deliver something bigger with more efficient, effective processes and better analysis and insights. The combination of people and technology is more powerful than either alone, and that’s what creates value. That’s why our firm uses a “people-led and technical-powered” approach.

Artificial intelligence and other technology – if used correctly – have real power to change how businesses operate and how we deliver public accounting. This is incredibly exciting for our profession and there has never been a better time to be a CPA. But as business leaders, it’s up to us to make sure technology is delivered responsibly, fairly and reliably. At PwC, we continue to invest in our technology, processes and methodologies to accelerate audits and empower our professionals to manage and work with new technologies to improve quality, efficiency and the experience of our people and clients.

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