‘This is Table Stakes,’ and Other AI insights From AAM’s Emerge Conference

The Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) 2023 Emerge virtual conference last week focused on how accounting firms can harness the power of AI to maintain a competitive edge. Here is a sample of some of the quotes we heard from the experts:

Jonah Nadeau, senior marketer at IPA 100 and Best of the Best firm Armanino

  • “Conservatively, I think we can all agree that it maybe would save you at least 15 minutes a day ­– that’s five hours of saved time in a month for 20 bucks. I don’t think there’s a single partner at any CPA firm who would not say that’s a good deal.” – on the ROI of GPT-4, the paid, improved version of ChatGPT.
  • “Accounting firms need to position themselves as the Netflix of tomorrow, not the Blockbuster of the past.”

Octavio (OJ) Laos, senior manager for Armanino’s Ideaticians team

  • “We’ve got to realize this is table stakes. These are things that have to happen in order for us to remain competitive and in the game.” ­– on the possibility of AI-savvy clients moving to another firm.
  • “I can’t do that.” ­– on the four words that will be eliminated by using AI.
  • “It’s also going to make it harder to stand out, quite frankly. If you thought you were smarter than your peers, well guess what? There’s a tool, and they can get there too. You’re more organized? Yeah, not anymore, right?” ­­– on the ‘downsides’ of AI.

 Raissa Evans, senior marketing manager at IPA 100 firm Weaver

  • “Add a discussion of AI best practices to your weekly meetings. It’s more interesting than a status meeting anyway and you can get into some of the fun parts of ways that people are helping the team and each other. And, and if you don’t have a team, get a peer group.” – on ways to include AI into daily workflow processes.
  • “We talk about human versus AI, but what you really need to be thinking about is human with AI. It’s a much more powerful concept.” ­
  • “It hesitates to take a point of view. It doesn’t do humor well and it doesn’t do empathy at all.” ­– on the limitations of AI in creating content.

 Paul Roetzer, CEO of the Marketing AI Institute

  • “I would consider another company to go work for, honestly. I just feel so strongly that the future is marketer plus machine.” – his response to a question from a marketer whose firm is barring use of AI.
  • “This is the dumbest form of AI you will ever encounter in human history, so it’s only going to get more powerful from here.” ­– on the speed with which AI will improve.
  • “Step one is to focus on education and training. Everything starts within an organization with understanding.”

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