Can AI fix the accountant shortage? – The Average Joe
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    Can AI fix the accountant shortage?


    January 23, 2023

    Tax season. Every accountant’s worst nightmare.

    Jack, audit us like one of your Cayman corporations.

    Due to a major CPA shortage, accounting firms must choose between overworking their employees or losing potential revenue:

    • Over 300K accountants have quit in the past two years — leaving firms struggling to meet customer demand.
    • One firm interviewed by WSJ had to increase its auditing service from $3K to $10K, while others are turning down work.

    Firms are seeking out talent from overseas — who can “do 90 to 95% of an audit,” per the CEO of one staffing company.

    The amount of US students completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting fell by 9% in 2020 — and CPAs are leaving for industries with higher salaries.

    AI has become the biggest buzzword of 2023…

    So it’s only artificial to ask, can ChatGPT replace the accountant? Here’s one CPA trying to do just that, and his result:

    Financial software provider Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) is putting some of its biggest brains into implementing AI. But companies love slapping buzzwords on branding — in effort to stay relevant.

    “AI is the largest platform shift since electricity and the internet” — Intuit CEO

    Intuit owns a suite of tools like TurboTax, QuickBooks and Credit Karma — broadening their services by acquiring email service Mailchimp in 2021.

    They’ve been incorporating machine learning (a branch of AI) in their tool for years:

    • Convert tax rules into code using knowledge engineering.
    • Vets businesses for small-business loans.
    • Personalizes tax filings using AI.

    $INTU — down 40% from its 2021 peak — isn’t one to sleep on a potential AI play. The company processes a vast amount of financial data for both individuals and businesses — and its tools are indispensable to most businesses.

    For now, Intuit’s tools still can’t handle a large portion of the accounting and auditing process. But it’s not difficult imagining a world where the job is automated away even further.

    Steve got canned — but he’ll be back one day without vengeance; Steve’s a robot, after all.

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