The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Audit and Tax

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are heralding a transformation in audit and accounting. From automating data entry and processing to predictive analytics and the automation of repetitive tasks, AI has the potential to free up audit and accounting professionals to focus on higher-value activities.

Further, AI can enhance multiple areas:

Audit: Audit firms are increasing the adoption of guidance materials by up to 144 percent to improve audit quality and consistency.

Tax: Firms are using AI to surface knowledge so that staff serve more clients and more complex engagements. This enables tax professionals to find guidance content more quickly, thus improving client service and efficiency. 

Regulatory change tracking: Firms are reducing the risk that staff miss important updates by informing them of relevant changes.

Incorporating AI support tools comes with considerations.

The impact of knowledge in audit and accounting

Knowledge is at the heart of audit and accounting, influencing practice and driving overall quality and reliability. This technical knowledge ensures that staff can accurately carry out their work, comply with applicable laws and regulations, and adhere to firm policy.

But what happens when staff become so frustrated by the experience of trying to find guidance material that is embedded in systems that simply don’t have the kind of user experience that today’s workforce is accustomed to? That includes:

  • Instant search results: Ability to search and find answers
  • Accurate documentation: Knowing that they are looking at the correct version of documents and templates.
  • Efficient review mechanisms: Avoiding reliance on email where things get buried and lost
Often, audit and accounting staff turn to a familiar friend. Simultaneously doctor, financial advisor, weatherman and confidante, Google may have all the answers but with no way of verifying the information consumed, firms risk their teams relying on incorrect or unreliable information.

Leveraging AI can help firms enhance how their staff engage with guidance material and outstrip search engines in usefulness and ease of finding immediate answers.

Considerations for implementation

Incorporating AI support tools comes with considerations. AI systems can experience ‘hallucinations’ where they perceive nonexistent patterns and create nonsensical or inaccurate outputs. This could lead professionals to form incorrect conclusions or assessments.

A single source of truth is essential to mitigating the potential errors or biases caused by hallucinations and ensuring that AI-supported tools can be utilized with accuracy. For audit teams, this ensures that the information they are accessing is correct and up to date. Meanwhile, tax professionals are equipped with the means to advise clients with greater accuracy and responsiveness. 

Training is also essential to ensure that staff are aware of the limitations of AI and ensure that their professional judgment is always part of the process.

Improving outcomes

While considerations must be made to use AI-supported tools effectively and safely, navigating these challenges paves the way for outcomes such as:

  • Improved judgment: Supporting better decision-making
  • Increased efficiency: Making it easier to looking up information in the manual
  • Engagement with the latest updates: Keeping staff informed with the latest regulatory and standards changes.

Leveraging AI can help firms enhance how their staff engage with guidance material and outstrip search engines in usefulness and ease of finding immediate answers. Instead of relying on Google, imagine your teams working with tools that not only help them find information quickly but also prompts them to take action such as considering the latest regulatory updates. Meanwhile, analytics provide insight into how staff are using content. 

Enhancing audit efficiency and accuracy through AI support tools

Such implementations are only the beginning of what audit and accounting firms can achieve. By leveraging AI tools to support knowledge and learning, firms can reduce manual work for their teams and ensure that guidance material is available at the moment of need, thus reducing the risk of human error and minimizing non-compliance risks due to oversight or outdated information. This allows audit and accounting professionals to focus on higher-value tasks, ultimately enhancing staff capabilities and driving better outcomes.