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Intuit and AI

Cathy Roth
Posted by Cathy Roth on Jul 23, 2021 4:37:33 PM

Intuit uses artificial intelligence to improve both their products and customer service. Recently, Intuit's Chief Technology Officer (CTO) appeared at VentureBeat's Transform 2021, a summit on applied AI for enterprise business & technology decision-makers. 

Marianna Tessel, Intuit's CTO, spoke with Matt Marshall, Founder & CEO at VentureBeat. During the conversation, Tessel and Marshall explored the growth of TurboTax Live, the use of AI in TurboTax Live specifically, and then discussed Intuit's use of and investment in AI as a whole. 

What has the growth been for TurboTax Live seen? According Tessel, TurboTax Live's user base increased by 70% over the past year while customer service wait times decreased by 15%. Additionally, Intuit anticipates the TurboTax Live user base to increase by another 90% this year.

When asked about the role of AI in TurboTax Live, Tessel said that over time, technology had been able to improve the experience of the expert and the experience of the customer. However, some improvements had become harder for "regular" technology to manage, so Intuit began to add AI to the mix. Tessel added that end results are better when more AI was added to the pathways.

Intuit currently invests in AI in three distinct fields which are used in combination.

  • Knowledge engineering - Intuit uses knowledge engineering to turn complex rules into computer code. For example, over 80,000 pages of tax compliance rules are used to power the back end of TurboTax Live. 
  • Machine learning - Intuit uses machine learning to match customers with experts in Intuit's Live offerings as well as to personalize products based on customer data.
  • Natural language processing - Intuit uses natural language processing to listen to and interpret spoken words and read written words, translating those language experiences into computer code.

The most traditional example of AI at Intuit is the use of machine learning which connects TurboTax Live customers with experts. Although it may appear to be a simple calendaring match on the surface, AI allows TurboTax Live to examine hundreds of attributes of both the customer and the expert to make sure that the right expert is connected to the right customer at the right time. With these connections being offered in as little as five minutes, AI was the best option to make that connection accurately and quickly.

At the end of the conversation, Tessel dismissed the dialogue that appears from time to time around the value of AI (Is it evil? Is it good?), adding that Intuit has used AI across many places and it has been good for Intuit.

At the end of the conversation, Tessel commented on the biggest surprise Intuit is seeing in their investment in AI. AI is enriching experts, but what they are also seeing is that the experts are tuning the AI. She added, "It is more of a machine and human collaboration, a lot more than we expected early on."

To hear the entire interview, watch the video of the conversation with Tessel. The clip becomes at approximately 1:50:00. 

Topics: Finger on the Pulse


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