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How Accounting Firms Can Use AI-powered Tech to Drive Profit

In a recent article in Bloomberg Tax, our CEO and co-founder, Ray Meiring, shared his thoughts on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation on the way tax accounting firms operate today—and how they should be preparing to pivot in the future in order to thrive. He explores how astute firms are adopting AI-driven technologies and tools to automate and accelerate the workflow, from data entry and performing audits to streamlining the proposal process. By eliminating labor-intensive, repetitive processes and personalizing client communications with tailored content, AI-powered solutions can help professional services firms differentiate their services for sustained profitability.  

In an unpredictable economic climate, tax accounting firms must find ways to stand out and generate a consistent revenue stream to buoy the bottom line. Using AI and automated technologies can help increase productivity, reduce operational costs, and accelerate the sales cycle, says Ray Meiring of QorusDocs. 

Like most professional services organizations, tax accounting firms are grappling with some serious challenges. Amid inflation and recession fears, they’re facing labor shortages, budget uncertainty, and changes to international tax rules.  

New European Union regulations around open banking and the Payment Services Directive, ESG reporting requirements, the 15% global minimum tax, and new taxation and audit standards around cryptocurrencies all will affect how companies calculate their taxes. Tax accounting firms are seeking tools, technology, and resources to compete and profit in the face of these ongoing challenges. 

As digital transformation continues to modernize the tax and accounting industry, many firms are embracing automation and artificial intelligence to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive tasks that take them away from more valuable client-facing billable work. Given that 86% of the tasks carried out by accounting firms can be automated, the trend shows no signs of slowing. 

Automation helps tax and accounting firms bolster the bottom line and improve clients’ experience. Indeed, 70% of companies have reported substantial return on investment after automating accounting processes. Similarly, a global survey of accountants found that the majority of respondents (56%) cited increased productivity as the main benefit of using such technology, while 27% viewed the time-saving aspect as its most important value, as it relates to allowing them to focus on clients. 

AI is seeping into all facets of business, from anticipating client needs and facilitating personalized customer experiences to transforming critical processes and eliminating repetitive, labor-intensive tasks. By recommending content, recognizing patterns and algorithms, and understanding the basics of conversation (such as Amazon Alexa does), this “version 1” of AI is evolving to deliver even greater benefits. 

Case in point? The emergence of ChatGPT. This technology, driven by OpenAI, allows computers to learn answer answers, email responses, and create strong first drafts of documents—in the same way a junior writing assistant would. As the technology matures, it will learn and grow, just as a junior writer becomes a senior writer. 

Within the accounting industry, AI is impacting operational workflows and the top- and bottom-line health of firms. To save time, reduce costs, and remain competitive, firms are accelerating workflows, minimizing staff workload, and meeting rapidly increasing client and industry demands by implementing AI solutions. Recent research showed an 11% increase in usage of AI and machine-learning technologies between the pre-Covid-19 phase of 2020 and the onset of the pandemic in the same year, with 58% of accountancy professionals expected to automate tasks using AI within the next three years. 

By heightening productivity and eliminating human error, AI tools help tax accounting firms accomplish a variety of tasks—from performing audits and compiling financial reports to accelerating approval workflows, automating data analysis, and streamlining the proposal process. 

Streamlining New Client Acquisition With AI 

AI-powered proposal management software helps create more efficient proposal and request for proposal response workflows—an otherwise time-consuming and labor-intensive process—to consistently win new business and retain clients. AI and natural language programming are radically transforming the way accounting firms create proposals, respond to RFPs, and engage with potential clients, both accelerating the proposal process and creating higher-performing responses that translate to the balance sheet. 

When tax accounting firms are creating proposals and RFP responses, engaging and informative content is critical to convincing prospective clients to select their services. AI and machine-learning technology take the guesswork out of this process. By learning what is “winning content” when pitching clients, AI will recommend the best information for a specific pitch, ultimately driving more wins. 

OpenAI, for example, can craft solid first drafts and free up business development or proposal team members to personalize and customize response documents to clients’ unique needs or focus on billable client-facing activities. It also can assist with “bid or no bid” decision-making and use past writing as a clue to make accurate recommendations. 

Providing accounting firms with a single source of truth for content, AI-powered proposal management software can answer common questions that regularly appear in RFPs. This capability alleviates the need to run painstaking content searches or scour individual databases to track down accurate responses—helping business development teams save time, effort, and resources while ensuring brand and document consistency. Plus, the system will learn and improve over time, streamlining and accelerating the process even further with each proposal, to help complete more proposals per year and generate additional client revenue. 

With AI-driven proposal automation software, tax accounting firms can access real-time analytics which demonstrate how prospective clients respond to their proposals, RFP responses, and other pitch documents. This data helps the business development team tailor smarter follow-up conversations with clients, leading to higher win rates. 

Bolstering the Bottom Line With Automation 

AI-powered proposal management software illustrates how tax accounting firms are taking advantage of automation to increase efficiency and optimize workflows. For example, proposal automation solutions—integrated seamlessly with existing technology and everyday applications—simplify and accelerate collaboration during the response workflow. Proposal teams can get expert and stakeholder feedback in real time, eliminating time spent chasing down subject matter experts while ensuring proposals and other important client-facing documents are accurate, complete, and up-to-date—a critical element of a successful pitch. 

In today’s unpredictable economic climate, all professional services firms must find ways to differentiate their services and generate a consistent revenue stream to buoy the bottom line. AI and automated technologies are a critical part of this effort, helping to increase productivity, reduce operational costs, and accelerate the sales cycle. With this goal in mind, more and more firms are turning to AI-powered proposal management software to promote sustainability and profitability in the face of economic and industry challenges. 

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg Industry Group, Inc., the publisher of Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg Tax, or its owners. 

Looking for more info, tools, and resources for accounting firms and other professional services organizations? Have you checked out the QorusDocs Professional Services Resources Hub yet? This curated collection of resources is tailored to the unique needs of professional services organizations and includes a proposal management guide, pursuit process checklist, a wide range of downloadable templates, presentation guide, and more. Enjoy! 




Published by Ray Meiring March 9, 2023
Ray Meiring