There’s a lot of talk at the moment about ChatGPT and what impact it might have on the world of accounting.

For those who don’t know, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI that has taken the world by storm.

Content creators have been left fearing for their jobs but the accountancy profession needs to embrace it rather than ignore it in the hope it’ll never take off.

A similar thing happened in the accounting and bookkeeping industry 10 years ago with the introduction of online accounting systems with bank feeds.

Previously Sage desktop software had the lion’s share of the small business accounting market and everyone needed a bookkeeper to enter bank transactions into Sage and explain them.

Technology means this routine work happens in your sleep now and allows us to focus on looking forward with client’s data rather than spending time and effort looking back.

Systems like QuickBooks and Xero, which is my personal preference, have overtaken Sage in the online bookkeeping market but they are fighting back.

This is what I think will happen with ChatGPT. There is a shortage of talent in the accounting industry so firms are either outsourcing work to other countries or embracing technology in order to remain competitive and keep fees at a reasonable level.

ChatGPT will kill off the ‘plodders’

Rather than dismiss or fight against the changes that AI and other software advancements bring, I think they should be embraced.

ChatGPT will give copywriters and content creators the opportunity to create better and more informed information in a fraction of the time which in turn means they can create more quality content for more people.

The quality of work that we can do now for businesses at Rivington Accounts is unrecognisable to what was achievable a few years ago. I wish it had been available when I used to report to plc boards prior to starting my own practice 15 years ago.

We are now able to prepare month end reports for clients that are of a better quality and quicker than those I used to prepare for FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 employers in my previous career.

This means that small business owners can make decisions about how they run and grow their business with much more insight and data.

Those who have their reports and work with us find that their business grows much faster than those who don’t take advantage of the technology available.

How will ChatGPT impact on the accountancy sector?  The jury is probably still out but I’ve read reports about how it can be trained to perform simpler tasks like data entry, invoice processing and even financial forecasting.

What I will say is ChatGPT and AI more generally will never replace human touch or spirit. A computer will never know what your plans are, when you want to retire, why you are in business, when you want to sell etc.

Why ChatGPT carries risks for business users

That is where a conversation comes in with your accountant who can back up your plans with meaningful, computer-generated data!