What's Next For Accounting? - Issue #136

I Launched A New Thing 🙂

Are you a frustrated accountant working for a legacy firm? I made this for you.

🤖 All The AI News from Microsoft Build 2024

The five highlights most relevant to what we do:

  1. Copilot Agents Link
    Liberating Copilot from a chat box, the idea is agents will do the work, rather than talk about the work. It comes on the heels of Google announcing AI Teammates. An AI member of the team with a workspace account, email address etc. We ran through what these could look like on Monday’s pod.

  2. Copilot Plus PCs Link

    Windows PCs with built-in “NPUs”, or hardware better suited to run AI apps locally. It’s a response to Apple silicon, and a transition from the “x86” to “ARM” architectures. And while the idea of having more horsepower to run AI apps locally is exciting, this architecture isn’t reverse compatible, meaning all apps we use on PC today would either need to run in an emulator, or be updated to work on this new architecture.

  3. Recall Link

    If you have a Copilot Plus PC, you’ll be able to use “Recall”, a Windows feature that lets you search across anything you’ve ever seen, done, or said to your computer. Folks stressed concerns over privacy, but MS is assures all the data is stored locally (right alongside the ads that are served locally). Weird this is being gated behind their new PCs. You can currently do this with off-the-shelf apps like Rewind.

  4. Minecraft Demo Link
    They demo’d playing Minecraft while talking with an AI assistant, which was a weird choice. The helpful version of this is the assistant I chat with while using QuickBooks, or my tax software. This will be really useful, and we discussed why the ChatGPT desktop app will likely be the first application of this on a recent pod.

  5. Khanmigo for Educators Link
    Khan Academy previously had a free AI assistant that would serve as a tutor for students. They announced a free assistant for educators this week. It’s a great reminder the more contextual these solutions are, the more helpful they become. The assistant for bookkeepers, the assistant for tax pros. Nobody’s quite cracked this yet.

No big surprises here for me, and not quite as interesting to me as what OpenAI recently announced.

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🔮 Q&A

If I could run a 80% margin firm in 10 hours per week, would I? Link
Probably not, and it isn’t a money thing. It’s a very privileged thing to say but I try not to let the money factor into most decisions. Through my current work I've developed new skills that I’m excited to leverage, that I wouldn’t put to work running a firm. I’ve considered building a firm for the content, but that feels like too much of an ego thing.

Could you use an AI-generated voice for podcast ad reads? Link
You certainly could, but folks are still spooked by it. There’s “what’s possible”, then there’s “what’s acceptable”, and it feels a little too fringe still. It’s a fun thing to play with for now, but needs to be done transparently.

How should accounting firms think about the security of using AI apps like ChatGPT in their workflow compared to other cloud apps? Link
The key factor is whether the data entered into the AI is used for ongoing training of the underlying models. With ChatGPT's business plans, prompts and data are never used for training. This doesn’t mean it’s ok to chuck PII in there, it just makes it like any other cloud app. So if your prompts aren’t used to train the model, run it through the same due diligence process you would any cloud app to come to a decision for your firm. But the notion that PII can never be put into an AI tool is a myth.

How should you decide whether to keep investing time and effort into something that may not yield immediate results, like social media, podcasting, etc.? Link
Avoid blindly following the "keep grinding for years" mentality in hopes of an eventual payoff. Instead, focus on finding an avenue that you genuinely enjoy and that helps you develop valuable skills for the long haul. You won’t always have control over outcomes, but you do have control over how you invest in yourself. Actively work to improve through deliberate learning rather than just putting in time. Sustainability comes from choosing a path that resonates with you personally.

😍 From The Community

My private peer networking community Realize for firm leaders, and it’s now reached its cap of 500 members 🎉

▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮ 500/500 members