Artificial intelligence promises major changes across many industries, and the accounting profession is no exception. In a recent episode of The Woodard Report, host Joe Woodard interviewed Blake Oliver, host of The Accounting Podcast, about Intuit’s new AI assistant, Intuit Assist, and what AI could mean for the future of accounting.
While Intuit Assist’s current capabilities around automating workflows in QuickBooks are limited, Joe notes that “the real potential is in what AI can do in the future.” He envisions AI driving new levels of productivity and efficiency in the years ahead.
According to Blake, “I think we're [SIC] gonna see these big consulting firms, the Big Four, deploy AI, and they might not need so many young staff auditors." Routine auditing tasks could be automated, freeing up staff to transition into more meaningful advisory roles.
However, Joe emphasized that AI still relies on human expertise. As he put it, "So what we must we do to protect ourselves from bad actors. Therefore, we must rapidly advance it. We must regulate to protect ourselves from AI; therefore, we must regulate it. There is no right answer." Accountants who can ask the right questions will remain essential.
Looking 5-10 years out, Joe predicts that advisory-focused accounting services "will have all the power, because the power goes where the revenue goes. That's right. And, and that's where the industry is going."
But he warned that bookkeepers need to elevate their skills now, stating, "you either need to go and sell your book, or you need to get busy about this. Because it's no longer we're no longer being Chicken Little here. Things have already started falling from the sky. We got to get on it."
While recognizing regulatory challenges, Joe is excited about the possibilities AI offers to transform accounting into a more high-value profession. But practitioners need to take action to develop the skills to thrive.
As Joe recommended, “I would strongly recommend you read The Quantum Supremacy by Michio Kaku, as well as The Future of the Professions, which has just gone through a new edition by Daniel Susskind.” Investing time to understand AI and its applications will be key.
To hear more of Joe and Blake’s insights on the future of accounting in an AI world, be sure to check out the full episode available on The Woodard Report podcast. This thought-provoking discussion is essential listening for any accounting professional wondering what the future may hold and how to prepare for it.