AI in Accounting: How to Use Generative AI in Your Accounting Practice

Artificial intelligence is changing the business landscape for everyone. Start leveraging it now so your accounting business isn't left behind.

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The launch of ChatGPT in late 2022 marked a significant step for artificial intelligence (AI) and its ability to do certain types of work—or even replace it. Since then, businesses of all types have been experimenting with AI to improve their workflows.

According to a recent FreshBooks report, 25% of small business owners said they’re currently using or testing generative AI tools (including ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing, and Google Bard)—while 2 out of 3 said they plan to try generative AI over the next 12 months.

The accounting and finance industry is not immune to the impact of AI. “If you don’t start using AI, you will be replaced by accountants that use AI,” says Brian Clare, CEO and founder of Blueprint Accounting.

But it can be hard to know how to leverage AI. Our survey revealed that 46% of small business owners aren’t using generative AI because they’re unclear on how it could benefit their business. And 32% aren’t sure where to start.

Let’s take a look at what accountants need to know about AI—including the benefits to accounting jobs, AI-powered tools to consider, and accounting sector best practices.

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    How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Accountants?

    AI technology has the potential to dramatically increase your productivity and help you take your accounting business to the next level.

    But how, exactly? Artificial intelligence can support your business in a variety of ways, including:

    25% of small business owners said they’re currently using or testing generative AI tools. (FreshBooks survey data, 2023)

    Automate Business Processes

    One of the clear ways AI can help is by automating tedious and repetitive tasks—including both accounting tasks and accounting operations tasks.

    “If you look at how software has changed the accounting industry—even before AI—it was to help accounting professionals spend less time on the mundane tasks by automating them,” says Brian. “Now, with the proliferation of so many AI tools, we’re able to automate even more tasks that may not have been easily automated.”

    With the right AI tech stack, you can automate everything from data entry and lead follow-up to social media management and scheduling—freeing up your time to focus on serving your clients. There are even tools that offer accounting automation, from bookkeeping to invoicing tasks.

    Cut Back on Administrative Work

    As an accounting professional, your main job is providing financial services to your clients—and as a business owner, your main job is growing your business. But there are a ton of administrative tasks that you need to know but aren’t actually related to your core services or business growth.

    AI takes some of those tasks off of your plate. For example, instead of responding to every inquiry from your website (including inquiries that aren’t going to lead to new business), you can add an AI chatbot to your website to answer visitors’ questions and qualify the lead.

    Or, if you’re spending too much time on email, you can use AI to better manage your inbox—and automatically get rid of emails that aren’t important, relevant, or timely.

    Save Time and Improve Productivity

    When you look at the benefits of AI, what it really boils down to is that it can save a lot of time—and when you have more time, you can be more productive and focused on the work that really matters.

    “The most obvious is the time savings for our team,” says Kenji Kuramato, founder of cloud accounting and online bookkeeping firm Acuity. “When they utilize AI as a tool, they’re able to dedicate their efforts to more strategic aspects of their roles versus some of the tactical tasks that had historically been on their plate.”

    Or, in other words, “it’s never been easier to get things done because of the help of AI,” says Brian.

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    3 Ways to Use AI in Your Accounting Business

    Clearly, AI can benefit your accounting business. But how, exactly, do you use it?

    Let’s look at 3 key processes where AI can help.

    1. Content Creation

    One of the most popular ways to use AI is to generate content.

    With ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence tools, you can type prompts into the platform (e.g., “Create a blog post about tips for effective tax preparation” or “Write a Facebook post promoting the accounting services outlined here:”). From there, the tool will generate content based on the prompt.

    So, what kinds of content can you create using AI? “In our firm, we quickly found ways to make improvements in our sales and marketing functions,” says Kenji. “When our marketing team is delivering content via blogs, newsletters, or social media, they begin by developing that content using ChatGPT.”

    Let’s take a look at what that could look like in action. “One way that I’ve used AI [is] producing first-draft blog posts,” says Brian.

    He uses Notion AI, a generative AI writing assistant built into the note-taking and connected workspace app Notion, to get the ball rolling on creating blog posts.

    And while Brian doesn’t use AI-generated content as his final copy, it does give him a jumping-off point. “This [process] puts ideas onto ‘paper’ so that I can then take it from there and add my flavor to the blog post.”

    In addition to creating blog posts and other long-form copy (like e-books or lead magnets), AI can help with shorter marketing copy, like email. “Our sales team…uses AI to test and modify email subject lines and email content to optimize for open rates and for responses,” says Kenji.

    2. Ideation (Get the Creative Juices Flowing)

    Feeling creatively blocked? AI can help—both in coming up with new ideas and, eventually, implementing them.

    “Having a powerful tool in our hands like AI has dramatically sparked our creativity,” says Kenji. “The applications of ChatGPT are enormous, and new use cases pop up on a daily basis—so experimenting with it has allowed us to better imagine where the future of the accounting profession can go.”

    “[For example], will we be able to train our own AI to give immediate, real-time financial insights to all of our clients? Can we serve non-English speaking markets by enabling AI auto-translation? Can we use AI to create real-time financial forecasting and scenario planning? These are just a few of the questions that such a powerful tool has us thinking through as we imagine the future of accounting.”

    By experimenting with different prompts (e.g., “How will AI change the accounting industry in the next 5 years?”), you can start to spark new ideas on how to incorporate AI into your workflows—and how to use it to better serve your customers.

    3. Client Communications

    Another great way accountants can use AI technologies is to improve client communications.

    “We are also preparing to roll out AI-assisted chat to give a more responsive customer support function to our clients,” says Kenji.

    With AI chatbots, you can give clients and prospects immediate, personalized responses to questions, without having to be available 24/7.

    Let’s say a prospective client has questions about your accounting services. Instead of sending you an email, they type their question into the AI chatbot. The bot gathers key information from the potential client, analyzes it, and decides whether they’re a fit for your business. From there, they can fill out an intake and schedule a discovery call in your calendar. All without you ever writing an email or picking up the phone.

    This can save you a ton of time and energy in dealing with customers that aren’t the right fit for your business—while still ensuring every customer that visits your website gets a high level of customer support. (You can even have your AI chatbot recommend other resources for customers that aren’t the right fit for your accounting firm.)

    Tips to Make AI Work for You

    Need more guidance on how to get started on AI—and make AI work for you? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

    Focus on Your Prompts

    The quality of what the AI produces is ultimately dependent on the quality of the prompts you give it.

    “What will help most people who are new to AI and ChatGPT…will be learning how to write good prompts,” says Kenji.

    So, what makes a good prompt? First, be specific.

    “Asking a one-line question won’t get you a good response,” says Brian. “But fleshing that out further and explaining to ChatGPT how you want the answer to be provided back does help to get a better response.”

    Details like these can improve your prompts:

    • Examples of comparable content
    • Word count limits
    • Style and tone notes or examples
    • Explaining context or intent (e.g., “I need a 30-second introduction for a speech I’m giving at a conference”)

    Prompt writing is a bit of an art. It often takes some creative experimentation and iterating on your initial prompt to get the results you’re looking for.

    Follow AI Leaders in Accounting

    AI is constantly changing. To stay on top of what’s happening with AI in accounting, follow accounting and finance professionals who are researching, using, and talking about the latest AI developments that impact accounting.

    “My favorite in the accounting profession is Jason Staat’s What’s Next For Accounting newsletter,” says Kenji.

    “In the accounting industry, people like Jason Staats and Ashley the CPA are really pushing the envelope and sharing their experience with various AI software,” says Brian.

    Keep Practicing

    It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll know exactly how to use AI and exactly how it can support your business right out of the gate. Instead, you’ll need to experiment with different tools and strategies—and then, once you find a tool and/or strategy that seems to be helpful, keep practicing until you figure out exactly how to use it to increase productivity, eliminate tedious tasks, and improve your accounting business.

    “Just dive in and start playing with some of these tools,” says Brian. “Knowing how to use AI is like a muscle—you have to keep working it out to make it better.”

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    The Best AI Tools for Your Accounting Business

    We’ve covered actionable strategies to help you incorporate AI into your workflow. Now, let’s jump into some actual artificial intelligence tools accounting firms can use to increase productivity.


    ChatGPT is a generative AI tool from OpenAI that uses natural language processing (NLP) to generate content. With ChatGPT, you can input prompts into the platform (for example, a question or a set of instructions) and the AI will respond with written content that addresses that prompt.

    ChatGPT can be a great tool for generating content for your business quickly, whether that content is a blog post, email template, response to a frequently asked customer question, or a job ad for a new junior accountant. It can also aggregate research, acting as a “research assistant” to gather demographic data on your customers or the competitive landscape in a geographic location you may branch out into. (Just keep in mind that ChatGPT has limited knowledge about anything prior to 2021—so if you’re looking for the most up-to-date data and information, this isn’t the right tool.)


    ChatGPT is great for generating content. But if you want to ensure that content is well-written and grammatically correct, try Grammarly. (Full disclosure, it suggested 3 improvements I used in this paragraph alone.) An AI writing assistant, Grammarly analyzes copy and identifies potential mistakes—including grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues.

    It integrates with other applications like Google Docs and can also give more wide-reaching edit suggestions; for example, where you can improve clarity and make your copy easier to read.


    If organic search is part of how you market (or want to market) your accounting business, you might consider adding Surfer to your content tech stack. Surfer uses AI to help you plan, write, and optimize your content for SEO to ensure that the content you’re publishing can (and will!) compete with top-ranking content for your target keywords.


    Want to create custom images to go with your marketing materials? How about a frazzled couple surrounded by paperwork at tax time? Or an accountant portrayed as a superhero? Try Midjourney.

    Midjourney is a generative AI tool that uses written prompts to create custom images. Type in your prompt and within seconds you’ll have multiple options to choose from.

    In addition to creating custom images, Midjourney also allows you to prompt different styles—so whether you want your marketing images to be photorealistic, black and white, or drawn in anime style, this app has got you covered.

    If you’re less interested in custom images and more interested in generating full client presentations, check out This tool creates slides based on written prompts—and ensures those slides are all created according to design best practices on everything from alignment and hierarchy to spacing.


    If you want to better connect with your website visitors, qualify leads, and optimize your traffic, adding an AI chat tool like Conservica can make a huge impact. Rather than using pre-programmed scripts, Conservica uses multi-model conversational AI to mimic real conversation, creating a more personalized experience for your customers and driving better results in the process.

    Use AI to Take Your Accounting Business to the Next Level

    No, accounting artificial intelligence isn’t replacing human accountants or stealing accounting jobs (yet). But integrating AI into your day-to-day operations can improve workflows, automate administrative and financial processes, increase productivity, and save you time and energy. This can seriously impact the success of your business, allowing you to shift focus to more high-value advisory services and strategy.

    Now that you understand how to leverage AI in accounting, all that’s left to do? Get out there, explore generative AI, and experiment with ways to make AI work in your business.

    Deanna deBara

    Written by Deanna deBara, Freelance Contributor

    Posted on July 7, 2023