ChatGPT and AI for Accountants


ChatGPT – it’s the latest buzzword, and for good reason. This powerful new tool has the potential to streamline your workflow, increase productivity, and set you miles ahead of the competition.

The accounting industry is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to embrace new technologies and stay ahead of the curve.

Now, understandably, you may be a little wary of AI. It has sparked a lot of concern about job security, leaving many accountants and bookkeepers wondering if they are going to be replaced by machines. That will only be true for those who do not change and adapt.

AI offers a huge opportunity for accountants and bookkeepers. When you start to use ChatGPT in your practice, you will be able to enhance your role, focus more on the services that are much more valuable, and become truly indispensable to your clients.

In this article, I’ll explore some of the strengths and limitations of ChatGPT, as well as explaining the importance of crafting a great prompt, and sharing some ideas on how ChatGPT can help grow your accounting firm right now.

About Mark Wickersham

Mark Wickersham – Chartered Accountant, public speaker, and #1 bestselling author – is known as the most sought-after profit improvement expert in the accounting community. He is famous for helping accounting firms double their profits in less than 18 months without having to work harder or do any uncomfortable marketing.

Mark is also a widely published author on practice issues. In May 2011 his first book, “Effective Pricing for Accountants”, was a number 1 Amazon bestseller. His other books include, “A Practical Approach to Value Pricing”, “How to Build a Successful Bookkeeping Business”, “Price: The fastest way to change profits”, and his most recent work, “Value Pricing for Accounting Professionals”. He has also co-authored “Your Blueprint for a Better Tax Practice” and “Your Blueprint for a Better Accountancy Practice”, both of which have been widely acclaimed.

Brief History of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI – an artificial intelligence research organisation founded in December 2015. The 'GPT' stands for ‘Generative Pre-trained Transformer’.

GPT-3 was released in June 2020, and it quickly gained attention for its impressive capabilities.

ChatGPT was then released for public use in November 2022. By December 2022 it had amassed over 100 million users, making it the world’s fastest-growing platform, beating the previous champion, TikTok, by a landslide. The new and improved model, GPT-4, was launched in March 2023.

It is designed to understand and generate human-like text, making it useful for a wide range of applications. It has been trained on a vast dataset containing diverse text sources such as websites, books, and articles up until September 2021. Any information made available after September 2021 is not known by ChatGPT as it is not connected to the internet.

In January 2022, Microsoft invested a whopping $10 billion into OpenAI and has since incorporated the ChatGPT tech into their search engine Bing – making it a huge competitor for Google.

ChatGPT is very new and is still learning and growing, but we are incredibly excited to see what happens next!

The Big Benefits

Think of ChatGPT as your personal assistant. A personal assistant with almost all the knowledge of the internet, who can complete tasks for you in seconds, and who’s available 24/7. There are some pretty awesome benefits to having a personal assistant like that!

One of ChatGPT’s most significant benefits is the ability to save you huge amounts of time. It can complete tasks much faster than a person, meaning your workflow will be quicker, your productivity levels will be increased, and you can focus on more important tasks. By automating time-consuming activities, you can dedicate more time to client relationships and strategic decision-making.

Another advantage of ChatGPT is its excellent writing ability. We all know that accountants and bookkeepers are the numbers experts – but when it comes to writing, some of us aren’t as confident.

I’m running a webinar very soon all about the power of AI and ChatGPT for accountants, and I’ll be going much deeper into the big benefits of ChatGPT, as well as sharing with you the 3 things you must be using ChatGPT for to save you precious hours each week.

Understanding the Limitations

There are 5 major limitations of ChatGPT and it’s crucial that you’re aware of them.

For one, it’s still learning and evolving!

ChatGPT’s current knowledge cut-off date is September 2021, and as a result, its understanding of the world and the information it can provide is only as current as the data it was last trained on. That means if you try to ask it about the weather last week, it’s not going to be able to give you an accurate answer.

ChatGPT is also developing rapidly, and keeping track of the changes to its capabilities can be tricky. It is continuously learning and evolving. New features are added continuously, and it can be overwhelming to decipher which features are actually going to help you, and how to get the most out of them.

In my upcoming webinar on May 21st 2024, I’m going to go through all 5 of the major limitations you need to know about in detail so that you’re not caught out by ChatGPT’s weaknesses. I’ll also be sharing with you the embarrassing story of a professional service firm that may get sued for negligence from an over-reliance on ChatGPT.

Prompt Engineering

When it comes to ChatGPT, the quality of the answer you receive is going to reflect the quality of the prompt you feed it. We have this saying, ‘Put garbage in, and you’ll get garbage out’.

If you are giving weak prompts, the responses you get are going to be vague and not very useful. The more specific you can get with your prompts, the better the response you will get.

Many different factors go into engineering a great prompt that’s going to get you great responses, and it’s a skill that you need to master in order to get the full benefits from ChatGPT.

For example, you can teach ChatGPT all about your personal brand and writing style, so that when it creates content for you, it is imitating your style. This is so important because if you don’t give any guidance on your brand, audience, or style, the content ChatGPT generates is going to be bland and nondescript. It’s going to reflect badly on you if your content suddenly starts sounding like everyone else’s.

There are so many things to learn when it comes to prompt engineering, it’s a skill that you can keep developing as you learn and progress. In this webinar, I’ll be sharing some of the essentials you need to know about crafting prompts to get started, as well as some high-level top tips.

Growing Your Accounting Firm

ChatGPT is such a vast tool with so many potential uses, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin and what to use it for.

One of the ways that accountants can be getting the most out of ChatGPT is by using it to help grow your accounting firm.

There are lots of ways that ChatGPT can help with this – the possibilities are endless.

You might start with some initial brainstorming. ChatGPT can help you to brainstorm ideas and can give you inspiration and a fresh perspective.

You might also use it for targeted research. You can find answers much faster than typing your questions into a search engine and scrolling through pages of unrelated articles until you can patch together what you need to know.

Or you could use it to quickly create some fantastic content marketing material that will really speak to your ideal client.

In my upcoming webinar, I’ll be sharing some specific ideas for ways you can use ChatGPT to grow your accounting firm, including some incredibly valuable prompts you can start using straight away.

Closing Thoughts

ChatGPT is a very new tool, and as powerful as it is, we know it has its bugs and limitations.

Be cautious when using it, and always review the content it produces before using it in any way to make sure you have the correct information and that everything reads well and is in the right tone for your business.

You can consider ChatGPT to be a virtual assistant or employee – you still have to speak to it, work with it, and train it to get the most out of it, but it’s going to take a lot of work off your plate and help increase productivity in the long run.

This tool is a total game-changer for accountants and bookkeepers, and it’s going to make such an impact on your business.

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how accountants can harness the power of AI and ChatGPT in their firms, check out my FREE eBook: ChatGPT for Accountants and Bookkeepers.

I also highly recommend you join our Facebook community, AI and ChatGPT for Accountants and Bookkeepers to stay up to date on the latest AI and ChatGPT news and updates as it affects the accounting industry.

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