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Three Steps Accounting and Consulting Firms Can Take to Make AI Work for Their Business

AI and machine learning have been hot topics in the industry for some time, but the adoption of this broad category of technology within accounting and consulting firms is only now becoming more commonplace, and early efforts have yielded mixed results. As discussed in the Intapp Connect20 session, Strengthen Your Decision-Making with Third-Party Data and AI, accounting and consulting firm leaders are excited to continue exploring how they can best leverage AI and machine learning in their firms. There are, of course, some critical considerations to keep in mind to ensure you optimize your accounting and consulting AI implementation to not only enhance the performance of your professionals and their processes, but also deliver better service to your clients.

1. Diagnose Acute Problems and Prescribe AI for Desired Outcomes

Although it’s easy to get swept up in the possibilities that technology like AI and machine learning present, it’s critical that firms remember that any technology must, first and foremost, help deliver better service to clients. As a second priority, your new technology must help produce your firm’s desired outcomes, so it’s imperative that you define both the problem and desired outcomes and map them to the right people, data, and processes within your firm.

Here’s one example: As your firm grows, so too can the risks of slow business acceptance and conflicts of interest. You’ll need to consider how your firm might improve its processes and equip professionals with the tools they need to accelerate new business acceptance while ensuring accuracy. Having identified the need to optimize processes, you’ll be able to seek out an AI solution that accelerates conflicts clearance by analyzing conflicts search results to automate clearance, escalating only those engagements with known issues or others that require human review. Your conflicts team, as a result, will have more time to focus on critical engagements that drive your firm forward.

2. Invest Time Today to Increase Profitability Tomorrow

Your firm’s professionals bring deep knowledge and unique skillsets that drive the firm’s overall success and profitability. To free up your professionals from monotonous tasks, your AI solution must be capable of streamlining their daily processes. But, for AI to be effective, those same professionals will have to invest time and attention to train the system to accurately navigate and make decisions based on your existing data. Kim Cornell, Senior Managing Director of Client Intake and Conflict Management at Ankura Consulting, recently spoke about her own firm’s AI implementation, saying, “It’s learning from your skilled people.”

Properly trained AI won’t just help your firm operate more profitably by accelerating business acceptance; it can also help you make more informed pricing decisions based on timekeeping and budgeting data from previous engagements, helping your firm improve client delivery by offering competitive pricing and avoiding budget overages.

3. Partner with AI Vendors that Understand Your Business

Partner-led firms work under a unique operating model — one that demands specialized technology to support the client lifecycle. Throwing off-the-shelf technology rarely produces the desired outcome; building homegrown solutions or piecing together a bunch of disconnected software usually creates problems down the road. In the case of exceptionally powerful tools like AI and machine learning, it’s essential that your vendor intimately understands the unique needs and challenges of accounting and consulting firms to offer purpose-built AI and machine learning technology that reflects these needs, seamlessly helping your firm achieve its goals.

At Intapp, we’ve spent years developing purpose-built AI-powered applications for accounting and consulting firms like yours. Contact us to learn how our accounting and consulting AI-enabled connected firm management solutions can help boost your efficiency and profitability.