In a groundbreaking achievement, the latest iteration of the artificial intelligence language model, ChatGPT-4, has not only surpassed its predecessor but has outperformed human accountants in accounting exams. Recent research conducted by renowned universities reveals that ChatGPT-4 scored an impressive average of 85.1%, while its predecessor, ChatGPT-3.5, struggled with a meager 53.1% average. This remarkable feat signifies the potential disruption that computer programmers can unleash on the accounting and auditing industries. As large language models like ChatGPT continue to evolve, they pose a significant threat to a wide range of professions, including financial quantitative analysts, blockchain engineers, interpreters, mathematicians, journalists, and numerous others. With the ability to streamline a substantial portion of tasks performed by workers, these advancements in artificial intelligence are poised to reshape various sectors.
AI Revolutionizing Accounting
The impact of artificial intelligence on the accounting field is already evident, with notable advancements in audit efficiency, quality, management forecasts, earnings announcements, and earnings forecasts. Studies confirm that AI technologies have significantly enhanced accuracy, timeliness, and precision in accounting practices. Embracing this transformation, leading firms have adopted AI-powered systems to revolutionize their operations. EY, for instance, introduced a ChatGPT program to address payroll inquiries, while PwC employs natural language processing, machine learning, and data analytics to improve its legal work. The latter has committed to investing $1 billion over the next three years to bolster AI capabilities, including ChatGPT.
Embracing Change and Adapting
Despite the exceptional performance of ChatGPT-4 in accounting exams, experts argue that its impact on human accountants will not result in widespread job loss. Throughout history, professions have adapted and evolved in response to technological advancements, rather than disappearing entirely. Professor David Wood of Brigham Young University emphasizes that accountants have weathered multiple technology-driven disruptions without significant harm to their field. Instead of replacing human accountants, AI and automation are expected to automate mundane compliance-related tasks, allowing professionals to focus on higher-value activities such as prediction and advisory services. By eliminating repetitive work, technology enables accountants to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately providing a more fulfilling work experience.
A Learning Journey Resembling Humans
ChatGPT-4’s achievement in learning from its initial exam failure and subsequent success reflects a learning process similar to that of humans. Professor Hamid Vakilzadeh of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater notes the striking similarities between AI and human learning, such as the importance of contextual understanding and learning from mistakes. While humans benefit from feedback, computer programmers employ techniques like Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback to refine generative AI models. Additionally, access to appropriate tools and resources, including calculators, has contributed to ChatGPT-4’s improved exam performance. This revelation offers human candidates taking accounting credentialing exams a valuable lesson: leverage available tools rather than relying solely on mental calculations.
The advent of ChatGPT-4 and its exceptional performance in accounting exams underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence in the accounting industry. As AI technologies continue to evolve, professionals must embrace change and adapt to leverage the efficiency and effectiveness they bring. Although disruptions are expected, the evolution of accountancy will lead to a more fulfilling and enriched profession, with human accountants focusing on higher-value tasks that require expertise and critical thinking. The journey of AI mirrors the learning process of humans, emphasizing the significance of contextual understanding, learning from mistakes, and utilizing appropriate tools and resources. With the right approach, the symbiotic relationship between humans and AI can usher in a new era of accounting excellence.