This certainly is not unique to the accounting industry, but I keep seeing articles about how
ChatGPT and AI could affect our work. And there is no fight here over whether it will, it is clear that this is a technology advancing at a rapid rate that is bound to have ramifications through most sectors of our life.
But I think it is also worth spending some time thinking about just what it is doing.
Many of the articles we have seen in our industry involve ChatGPT passing the CPA exam. It couldn’t at first, there have since been reports that it can, but no matter what, it is clear that it was not acing the test. So, for argument’s sake, let’s say this means it’s getting graded at about a 75 out of 100.
Now let’s think, how often are we satisfied with that level of performance?
Well, it depends on what we are talking about. If you go to McDonald’s and the performance of the restaurant is 75%, that’s probably in line with expectations. If you are a steakhouse where you are paying 10 times as much for your meal, you probably are expecting higher performance.
So, if we are talking about a technology that can ‘pass,’ let’s give it credit that this is still pretty amazing. But let’s also realize that this means many actual people are performing much better than it. When it comes to what this can be good for then, we are going to have to make many of the same choices I mentioned above and decide when and where we want better attention.
And when it comes to your finances, this seems one of the most important places to keep the best service. I will not pretend that there aren’t some small businesses out there who largely could have automated services take care of some of their bookkeeping. This has even already been available for a while with a middling level of success. Once a business grows, though, the chances for mistakes widen and the chances to miss catching those mistakes gets exponentially bigger with the more you trust to happen automatically.
And sure, this type of AI technology is bound to get better and better at doing more and more. But even as it grows, we need to keep in mind what it can do and, more importantly, what it can’t. So let’s enjoy it for the wonders it brings while being aware of what it cannot replace.
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