Moss Adams Study: 69% of Accountants Say AI is Positive for Profession

Artificial intelligence (AI) tools in accounting are going mainstream, according to a survey by Seattle-based IPA 100 firm Moss Adams (FY22 net revenue of $1.1 billion). The study reveals a large majority of accountants believe the technology will enhance rather than eliminate jobs and benefit the profession overall, driving productivity and business growth.

“AI is here, and accountants are actively embracing the technology,” said Bill Armstrong, chief innovation officer of Moss Adams. The survey of corporate tax and auditing professionals, conducted by OnePoll, revealed 83% of respondents are aware of AI in their workplace, and 79% of those say it’s beneficial to have AI assist them with their job.

“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.

Key findings:

  • 69% of respondents say AI has had a positive impact on the profession
  • 94% have encountered AI in the workplace
  • 44% said the technology was mandated by their employer; 40% said AI usage was a combination of company policy and personal preference.
  • 72% of respondents trust AI in a professional setting.
  • 21% believe AI will eventually replace their job; 64% do not believe it.

In addition to revealing the prominence of AI among accountants in the workplace, the survey shed light on how the technology has been adopted. Respondents reported interacting with AI through:

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

“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 corporate 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 respondents expressed at least one concern about AI, highlighting risks for accounting firms as they accelerate adoption in a rapidly changing technology landscape. Top concerns included:

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

The survey of 500 American corporate tax and auditing professionals was commissioned by Moss Adams between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1, 2023

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