What's Next For Accounting? - Issue #117

📃 My 2024 AI Predictions

Here’s a writeup on what I anticipate this year, and a podcast episode if you want the deep dive. What to look out for, in summary:

  1. Better Generative Email
    We now have a basic version of it in many practice management systems, but a more intelligent email assistant is on the way.

    "Can you send me a copy of my 2022 tax return"

    🤖 A draft reply is generated, with the prior year tax return attached.

    "What's the status of our December financials? The banker wants a copy"

    🤖 A draft reply is generated, using the status from project in the PM, matching the tone of voice you use with this client.

    "Why was profit down last month?"

    🤖 A draft reply is generated, pulling in data from the PM's API connection to the accounting ledger, and a transcript from a past meeting with the client discussing the same subject.

    Check out the linked resources above if you want the technical deep dive on how all of this works behind the scenes.

  2. Better Research Tools
    The product category most ripe for disruption, research solutions, will vastly improve in the near term. The ability of LLMs to draw relevant excerpts from authoritative literature, and present it in a structured workpaper in seconds will eliminate the bulk of research tasks currently assigned to junior staff.

    We aren't using LLMs as a knowledgebase here - we're layering LLMs over authoritative sources. Here’s an overview of how to use AI appropriately for research, and when combined with agents will drive a new generation of research apps.

  3. The Dawn of Agents
    Agents, or autonomous AI assistants that can navigate the programs we use could make the AI developments to-date look like child's play. Agents follow a prompt from the user, and navigate software the same way a human user does to complete tasks.

    Here’s a deep dive we did on the newsletter back in August. They're fairly slow & resource intensive today, but can complete basic tasks, like printing a cash basis prior year balance sheet and P&L from QBO.

    Progress in this domain, for example, an agent that can complete a QBO reconciliation & markup the PDF statement, will bring about significant tipping points in automating large chunks of work.

Honorable Mentions:

Anything I missed? What do you anticipate, or as an accountant, what problems would you love to see AI solve for you? Hit reply and let me know.

🤔 What Would You do?

When do you send out annual renewals?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

💎This Week's Sponsor

The fastest, easiest and most flexible way to consolidate multiple entities

Have a product or job opening to advertise? Reply to this email for more info.

📅 This Week

  • My top email tips to maintain your sanity

  • A trifecta of great OpenAI announcements:

    • ChatGPT Team - A new subscription for teams up to 150 - models aren’t trained on user conversations, and share custom GPTs with fellow firm users - this is now the go-to plan for small firms

    • The GPT Store - For now, this is just a helpful way to find the most popular custom GPTs people have built

    • Personalization - Your GPT will now retain what it learns across chats, remembering your “details and preferences”

  • Journal of Accountancy with a writeup on my AI talk from the Digital CPA conference

  • I ran through the exercise of building a database of client problems, and discussed how to wrap your service offerings & social media content around those problems

  • As measured in last week’s newsletter poll, 36% of folks immediately send their email responses, rather than scheduling emails. Our practice management systems could help us here

  • From the weekly Q&A:

    • Should we charge extra for urgent work?

    • I currently work in a large firm but want to start my own - should I go work for a small firm first?

    • Soon-to-be first time parent - should I stick with the firm that vibes with my entrepreneurial spirit, or start my own thing for greater flexibility?

    • Should we be trying to ‘do something different’, or just steal best practices from everyone else?

    • We do a Q&A on the podcast each Friday - hit reply with any questions you have and I’ll pull them into next week’s Q&A

  • A great discussion with Sal Khan about how AI assistants are fundamentally changing education

  • The Rabbit r1 is an interesting exploration of what the future of AI devices could look like

😍From The Community

My private peer networking community Realize for firm leaders, now capped at 500 members.

▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▯▯▯▯▯▯ 379/500 members