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Think accountants are goofy-looking nerds sitting in back cubicles churning out numbers day after day? Think again. The accountant today is the bedrock, the backbone of a company – big or small. They are highly respected employees whose services are indispensable.

It is also a profitable and successful line of business. The accounting industry revenue in the United States is predicted to be about $145 billion in 2023. The leading global firms are called the Big Four. These multinationals reported a combined revenue of almost $190 billion worldwide in 2022 and the number of employees were about 15 million. These are not goofy-looking nerds.

THE BIG FOUR

Deloitte provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and legal services and operates in over 150 countries. The firm was founded by in London in 1845 and expanded into the United States in 1890.

EY (Ernst Young) – EY is one of the largest professional service networks in the world. It provides assurance, tax, information technology services – including managed cloud, digital transformation and consulting, plus advisory services to its clients.

KPMG is a network of firms in 145 countries with 273,424 employees. It has three lines of services: financial audit, tax, and advisory. Its tax and advisory services are further divided into a variety of service groups. 

PwC – PricewaterhouseCoopers International is a professional services firm that provides clients with various professional business services, including accounting, auditing, human resources consulting, and strategy management.

AI & ACCOUNTING

The big accounting firms are already using AI to analyze vast amounts of financial data at an unprecedented speed. AI-equipped systems provide accurate financial forecasts, identify patterns, and detect anomalies, empowering them to make data-driven decisions, according to Thompson Reuters, the Canadian information company. This is how AI helps them::

  • Predictive analytics: AI-driven predictive analytics help clients make data-driven decisions.
  • Forecasting financial trends, identifying risks, and optimizing strategies for growth.
  • Auditing: AI-powered audit tools analyze large volumes of financial data quickly and precisely. These tools identify anomalies and potential issues, improving the audit process’s efficiency and accuracy.
  • Tax compliance: AI assists in automating complex tax compliance  tasks. It helps keep up with ever-changing tax codes and regulations while minimizing errors.
  • Client insights: AI-driven platforms provide deeper insights into client needs and behaviors. This allows companies to tailor their services more effectively and build stronger relationships with clients.

SMALLER ACCOUNTING FIRMS

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a game-changer, helping accounting firms streamline processes, improve accuracy, and deliver more value to their clients. In a recent study, Thompson Reuters found that 73% small  to medium sized accounting firms surveyed acknowledge AI can be used for tax, accounting, and audit work, yet they are not utilizing it. This is how AI can help you:

  • Bookkeeping automation: AI-powered software can automatically categorize expenses, reconcile accounts, and generate financial reports. This saves time and reduces the risk of manual errors.
  • Client communication: Chatbots powered by AI can handle routine client inquiries, freeing up staff to focus on other issues. These chatbots can provide 24/7 support, enhancing client satisfaction.
  • Data analysis and back office functions: AI tools enable smaller firms to analyze client data more efficiently. They offer insights into cost-saving opportunities, risk management and financial planning.
  • Fast and accurate tax research: Firms use AI-powered algorithms in tax research tools to return data from human-edited, tax-specific content.

We apologize to the goofy looking nerds out there who already use AI (we also apologize for calling you a goofy looking nerd.) But if you’re not using this remarkable technology, the time for small accounting and CPA firms to embrace AI is now. If you want help finding the right AI systems and software for your business –  click here.