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Artificial Intelligence

Your Firm and Your AI Financial Reporting

The difficulties of extracting information from multiple systems and meaningfully summarizing it have been challenging. A variety of technologies, including AI, have converged to provide solutions.

A Top Technology Initiative Article.

One blessing of traveling, volunteering to serve on committees, consulting, and teaching CPE to so many accounting professionals is the ability to learn continuously. During the September 26-28 AICPA Executive Roundtable event in New York City, it was a pleasure to see 45 products presented and to meet with top executives representing these products. One of the questions asked of each presenter was how the platform used AI, or will be used, in their products. The responses were insightful and made me realize that many of our products are going through an abrupt change for the better. Further, the next Accelerator consort must have an AI strategy to be included.

But how does this affect your firm and your clients? These products will become easier to use, providing insightful, actionable content. Financial reporting has always been difficult and clumsy. Many brilliant people have innovated and attempted various solutions to the problem. Still, the difficulties of extracting information from multiple systems and meaningfully summarizing it have been challenging. A variety of technologies, including AI, have converged to provide solutions.

So, What Is Making Financial Reporting Solutions Work?

Simply put, innovative technologies are finally maturing. Consider the following list:

The list of tools above is not even close to comprehensive. However, AI is being considered and incorporated into virtually every tool in the market. A wise strategy would be to ask every vendor you work with today and for any new tools you plan to add to your kit: “How are you using AI today, and what is your strategy for using AI in the future?” While we have cautioned on protecting client data in the past, remember that many vendors do not understand the nature of safeguarding client confidential information. Also, ask, “How do you protect the client data in your AI tool?” We want private data instances and don’t want the data broadly shared.

Additionally, the release of Microsoft Copilot in Windows 11 and of Microsoft Copilot 365 will drive more broad adoption of AI. Every major company is evolving its AI platform, including Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Meta (Facebook), Adobe, and many more. AI education and adoption will be critical for accountants this year and beyond.

As I requested in my last few columns, if you have developed a use of AI that you’d like to share, please email me at I will attribute the idea to you and add it to my warehouse of AI ideas. I am developing a cookbook of AI prompts and applications for practical use in your firm. I wanted to thank all of you who have contributed so far. I won’t ask again.

As a reminder, colleague Brian Tankersley and I have recorded five podcasts on the topics of AI with ChatGPT4, Microsoft AI, DALL-E & AI Competitors, AI Truthiness & Hallucinations, and Large Language Model (LLM) considerations. Please ensure you have checked out these AI podcasts and our podcast discussions of various other products at The Technology Lab. We will continue adding many products listed above as individual reviews.

So, What Makes Practical Sense as an AI Financial Reporting Tactic?

First, look at your current tools. Remember that less is more. It is easier to train and maintain fewer tools in your kit. Products you have relied on will likely need to be replaced with modern, more capable tools. Don’t adopt a new tool simply for the technology, but for a specific need or way that it can help your clients. Go back to your strategic plan and choose one key area to improve. For example, if you want to have advisory meetings with your CAS clients using better reporting, look for tools that accomplish that goal.

We may be reaching the point where technology will provide productivity gains like we saw in the 1980s. I know using AI assistants, copilots, and companions helps me feel like the tools available are helping me get the tactical work and the strategic visionary management done more quickly and effectively. Perhaps 1 (me) +1 (AI) =3 or more in this new world of AI.