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Artificial Intelligence

7 in 10 Accountants Say AI Benefits the Profession, Survey Finds

A Moss Adams study found that 69% of accountants believe AI will enhance, not eliminate, jobs and is a plus for the accounting profession.

A new study by top 15 accounting firm Moss Adams revealed that 69% of accountants believe artificial intelligence will enhance rather than eliminate jobs and has a positive impact on the accounting profession as a whole, driving productivity and business growth.

“AI is here, and accountants are actively embracing the technology,” Bill Armstrong, chief innovation officer at Moss Adams, said in a statement.

The survey of 500 U.S. corporate tax and auditing professionals, conducted between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1, 2023, by OnePoll, revealed 83% say they are aware of AI in their workplace, and 79% of those say it’s beneficial to have AI assist them with their job. 

Bill Armstrong

“Although concerns about ethics and job replacement persist, a majority of the participants trust AI in both professional and non-professional contexts and appreciate its potential to improve employee satisfaction by providing new opportunities for learning and growth,” Armstrong said.

In addition to revealing the prominence of AI being used by accountants in their firms, the survey also shines a light on how the technology has been adopted.

Of the respondents who encountered AI at work:

  • 44% said the technology was mandated by their employer.
  • 40% said AI usage was a combination of company policy and personal preference.
  • 14% said integrating AI into workflows was purely personal preference.

Similarly, respondents reported interacting with AI through:

  • Work devices: 50%
  • Apps and tools: 43%
  • AI models like ChatGPT: 50%

This suggests AI is in use in the workplace partly due to corporate sponsorship and partly users adopting the technology on their own.

“The general perspective is AI will function as an augmentation technology, freeing up time for the critical-thinking tasks that empower employees and drive innovation and progress,” Armstrong said. “There are aspects of the job, however, that can’t be substituted by AI. Accountants understand multifaceted decision-making, emotional connection, and the necessity for a personal touch—these are elements tough for algorithms to replace.”

The rollout of AI systems across industry sectors has raised concerns about AI making some human tasks obsolete. However, the survey results indicate respondents by and large rejected that narrative with the majority—64%—not believing AI will eliminate their jobs.

That said, 89% of accountants expressed at least one concern about AI, highlighting risks for accounting firms as they accelerate adoption in a rapidly changing technology landscape. The biggest concerns included:

  • Work quality: 42%
  • Data accuracy: 41%
  • Fiscal costs: 31%
  • Undetected bias: 26%
  • Ethical issues: 21%

“Failure to address these issues could compromise returns on AI investment and lead to mistrust among employees, clients and stakeholders,” Armstrong said.

Despite reservations, 67% of accountants predicted their firms will increase AI investment in 2024 through expanded implementation, partnerships with AI software companies, or further research.

“AI is winning over people in the accounting sector and will continue to do so in the future,” Armstrong said. “It’s very exciting.”