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Technology and Automation

May 1, 2023 TaxPlanIQ Support team

As the tax industry continues to evolve and become increasingly complex, it is more important than ever for Tax Advisors to stay informed and up-to-date on the latest changes and challenges in the industry. In this article, we will explore some of the key concerns that Tax Advisors face in their work.  We will also provide valuable insights and practical advice for Tax Advisors looking to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible service to their clients.  Let's dive in!

Technology and Automation

As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, concerns over the impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the accounting profession are becoming more widespread.  Not only are many Tax Advisors wondering how their roles will be affected by the rise of AI, they are also noticing the advantages to embracing new technology, and wondering how to begin to incorporate AI into their tax advisory services.  Let’s first look at some of the concerns AI has brought to the forefront of the industry.

If you ask anyone within the Tax Industry about their concerns regarding AI, you will often hear one recurring worry: the possibility of job displacement. With AI and automation becoming increasingly sophisticated, it's possible that some of the more routine tasks currently performed by Tax Advisors could be automated. This could lead to a reduction in the demand for human accountants and a shift towards more technology-focused roles.  

While AI and automation may replace some aspects of the traditional Tax Advisor role, it is important to note that they will also create new opportunities. For example, Tax Advisors may be able to focus on higher-level tasks such as strategic planning, risk management, and advisory services, which require more advanced analytical and critical thinking skills.    

Another concern for Tax Advisors is the potential for errors in automated accounting systems. While AI and automation have the potential to significantly improve accuracy and reduce human error, there is still a risk of mistakes if the systems are not properly monitored. This could lead to significant financial and reputational damage for both clients and accounting firms.

To address these concerns, Tax Advisors should stay up-to-date with the latest developments in AI and automation and invest in ongoing training to ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to adapt to new technologies. They should also work closely with IT professionals and data analysts to ensure that they are aware of the limitations within any particular AI program.  In addition, Tax Advisors can focus on building strong relationships with clients by providing personalized services and advice that cannot be replicated by programs.

As AI becomes more accessible, another major concern for Tax Advisors using AI is privacy.  AI systems rely on vast amounts of data to function effectively, and often this data includes personal information about individuals.  Tax Advisors must ensure that they are collecting and using this data in accordance with all relevant privacy laws and regulations.  Look to other businesses who are successfully incorporating AI into their practices.  What systems do they have in place to ensure compliance with necessary laws?  If you plan on implementing AI into your business, make sure you are working closely with reputable individuals who are skilled in data protection.  

Another area to be aware of when using AI is transparency.  AI systems can sometimes be vague and difficult to understand. Tax Advisors must be able to explain how their AI systems work to clients and stakeholders, especially when the systems are used to make important financial decisions.  Before implementing these programs, make sure you have a complete understanding of the system and the information the system is suggesting.  

One last area of importance to consider when utilizing AI is accountability.  When AI systems make mistakes, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for those mistakes. Tax Advisors must establish clear lines of accountability and responsibility for their AI systems to ensure that mistakes are identified and corrected quickly.  Have a documented system of checks and balances within your organization.  Ensure that all AI information flows through the designated system and that accurate records are maintained regarding its use.  This will make certain that accountability is maintained.  

Once you’ve got a solid understanding of the concerns that accompany AI and how to address them, you need some practical tips to help incorporate AI into your business.  We’ve got you covered! 

Start with a clear understanding of your business needs: Before incorporating AI into your tax practice, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. This will help you determine which AI tools and applications are most relevant to your business.

Identify areas within your business that can benefit from AI: Tax advisors should assess which areas of their practice can benefit from AI, such as data analysis, tax research, or document review.

Invest in quality data: AI relies on quality data to make accurate predictions and recommendations. Tax advisors should invest in high-quality data sources and establish processes for data cleaning and management.

Choose the right AI tools: There are many AI tools available for tax advisors, such as predictive analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning. Choose the tools that are most relevant to your business needs.

Train staff on AI tools: Tax advisors should provide training and resources for staff to effectively use AI tools. This will ensure that the technology is being used correctly and that staff members are comfortable with the new tools.

Monitor and evaluate AI performance: Tax advisors should regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of their AI tools to ensure that they are meeting their business needs. This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure that the technology is delivering value to the business.

While there are legitimate concerns over the impact of AI and automation on the accounting profession, Tax Advisors should view these technologies as opportunities rather than threats. By staying informed, investing in training, and focusing on providing value-added services, you can continue to play a vital role in helping clients achieve their financial goals in an ever-changing technological landscape.

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