AI in Accounting: Profitability Analysis Tools Deliver Better Client Value and Higher Margins

Today, accounting and artificial intelligence (AI) go hand-in-hand; savvy firms are rapidly adopting AI pricing software, reaping the rewards of data-driven pricing capabilities and enhanced budget monitoring that empower professionals to improve client value and profitable delivery.

Firms that use AI pricing software enjoy the advantages of unifying data across disparate sources, surfacing key insights, managing unforeseen risks, and increasing efficiency across a range of core functions. Further, better pricing protocols build operational excellence and competitive advantage.

In light of these innovations, clients expect more fluidity from their accounting service providers. Firms face pressure to not only move beyond flat-fee and hourly billing models, but also provide transparency and predictability around pricing and budget management. Subsequently, firms want AI pricing software that provides predictive intelligence to correctly scope, price, budget, resource, and monitor engagements to ensure profitable engagement management while meeting client expectations.

Pricing Engagements for Profitability and Happy Clients

Best-in-class AI pricing software solutions — like Intapp Pricing — incorporate profitability analysis tools that help accounting firms increase profit margins. Using AI, firms can leverage past data and outcomes to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their pricing function by eliminating the guesswork associated with unsurfaced data and manual processes.

As data accrues within the solution over time, the Intapp AI pricing software becomes increasingly intelligent; each time data is refreshed, the AI incorporates new data points to continuously improve accuracy and reliability.

Harnessing the Power of AI-Fueled Profitability Analysis Tools

Intapp Pricing leverages Engagement DNA™ — proprietary AI-based technology that automatically sifts, sorts, and categorizes a firm’s previous engagements by shared characteristics — to dynamically model pricing and profitability scenarios and help optimize scoping, resourcing, pricing, and planning strategies.

Information gleaned from Engagement DNA informs staffing strategies, including the number of accountants performing the work, as well as the leverage — meaning the ratio of senior and junior team members. Analysis of past engagements with respect to profit margins associated with leverage ratios helps firms balance profitability with client value.

Firms that lack AI pricing software are stuck relying on spreadsheets and time-consuming manual processes to gather source materials and conduct analysis required to develop new budgets. The limitations of manual processes — including subjective estimation and unreliable data — open the door for significant scoping and pricing errors that lead to unpredictable budget overruns and frustrated clients.

Monitoring Budgets to Actuals

Today, clients are challenging the status quo with their accounting providers; specifically, they’re looking for better value, transparency, and predictability throughout the lifecycle of the engagement.

Subsequently, once an engagement gets underway, clients expect their firms to proactively manage budgets to actuals — they don’t want to be surprised by overages midway through an engagement. The right AI pricing software provides monitoring tools and automates reporting so that firms can course-correct while keeping clients in the loop every step of the way.

When firms have visibility into budget alignment, tasks, and milestones as well as automated event-based alerts, they’re empowered to keep engagements on track and clients happy.

Boosting Engagement Profitability

Faulty pricing eventually results in budget overruns and inefficient resourcing. Without the right AI pricing software and profitability analysis tools, firms find it difficult to model pricing and resourcing scenarios that ensure strong margins. And without ongoing oversight, firms are vulnerable to overbilling, which in turn leads to write-downs and reduced realization.

Using AI pricing software, firms are empowered to explore pricing, resourcing, and profit margins in concert, using dynamic modeling capabilities that become increasingly intelligent over time with the continuous influx of new data.

Supporting Clients Throughout the Pandemic

With client-requested pandemic rate reductions on the rise, it’s critically important that firms can confidently respond to these requests in a timely fashion. Using Intapp Pricing, firms can figure out how to cut a budget by modeling rate reductions and other factors. When firms are able to respond quickly and reasonably, they stand out among competitors with respect to client-value delivery.

Improving Time Capture to Increase Realization and Profitability

Although AI pricing software and profitability analysis tools can help firms improve realization and profitability, achieving these goals ultimately depends on actually collecting fees. Inefficiencies and deficiencies around billing and time capture significantly impact time-to-collect cycles and lost revenue.

Accelerating the Work-to-Collect Cycle

Accounting staff generally struggle with contemporaneous time capture, which translates into underreported time that erodes revenue. When fee earners are tasked with reconstructing their time allocation, they prolong time-to-bill and time-to-collect cycles, which in turn negatively affects realization.

To protect against time-capture erosion, OnePlace Operations & Finance moves compliance validation upstream to the point of time entry, with timekeeping that’s automatically integrated with client billing terms. The solution also offers passive time-capture features, predictive timekeeping prompts, full mobile access, and client terms integration to facilitate compliant, rapid, and accurate time entries that reduce leakage and significantly shrink the interval time between time worked and payment received.

Informing Better Pricing Strategies

To meet client expectations on value while ensuring profitable engagements, it’s critically important to not only automate your firm’s pricing function, but also implement AI pricing software that surfaces and analyzes the data required to create budgets for new engagements quickly and confidently.

The ability to monitor budgets throughout the client lifecycle also ensures that there are no unhappy surprises for clients or the firm. Operational excellence has emerged as a key opportunity for firms to improve client value, profitability, and competitive advantage, which is why leading firms are investing in AI pricing software like Intapp Pricing.

Discover how your firm can strengthen client relationships and enhance profitability with OnePlace Operations & Finance AI pricing software and profitability analysis tools.

Written by:

Devin O'Leary

Practice Group Leader, Operations and Finance

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