Study: 69 Percent of Accountants Said AI Has a Positive Impact on the Profession
Artificial intelligence tools are augmenting, not automating, corporate tax and accounting jobs.
SEATTLE, Dec. 6, 2023—Artificial intelligence (AI) tools in accounting are going mainstream, according to a survey by Moss Adams, one of the largest accounting, consulting and wealth management firms in the nation. The study reveals a large majority of accountants believe the technology will enhance rather than eliminate jobs and benefit the profession overall, driving productivity and business growth.
“AI is here, and accountants are actively embracing the technology,” said Bill Armstrong, chief innovation officer of Moss Adams. The survey of corporate tax and auditing professionals, conducted by OnePoll, revealed 83 percent of respondents are aware of AI in their workplace, and 79 percent of those say it’s beneficial to have AI assist them with their job.
“Although concerns about ethics and job replacement persist, a majority of the participants trust AI in both professional and non-professional contexts and appreciate its potential to improve employee satisfaction by providing new opportunities for learning and growth,” Armstrong said.
In addition to revealing the prominence of AI among accountants in the workplace, the survey shed light on how the technology has been adopted.
Of the respondents who encountered AI at work:
- 44% said the technology was mandated by their employer
- 40% said AI usage was a combination of company policy and personal preference
- 14% said integrating AI into workflows was purely personal preference
Similarly, respondents reported interacting with AI through:
- Work devices: 50%
- Apps and tools: 43%
- AI models like ChatGPT: 50%
This suggests AI is in use in the workplace partly due to corporate sponsorship and partly users adopting the technology on their own.
“The general perspective is AI will function as an augmentation technology, freeing up time for the critical-thinking tasks that empower employees and drive innovation and progress,” Armstrong said. “There are aspects of the job, however, that can’t be substituted by AI. Accountants understand multifaceted decision-making, emotional connection, and the necessity for a personal touch—these are elements tough for algorithms to replace.”
The rollout of AI systems across industry sectors has raised concerns about AI making some corporate tasks obsolete. However, the survey results indicate respondents by and large rejected that narrative with the majority—64 percent—not believing AI will eliminate their jobs.
That said, 89 percent of respondents expressed at least one concern about AI, highlighting risks for accounting firms as they accelerate adoption in a rapidly changing technology landscape. Top concerns included:
- Work quality: 42%
- Data accuracy: 41%
- Fiscal costs: 31%
- Undetected bias: 26%
- Ethical issues: 21%
“Failure to address these issues could compromise returns on AI investment and lead to mistrust among employees, clients and stakeholders,” Armstrong said.
Despite reservations, 67% of respondents predicted their companies will increase AI investment in 2024 through expanded implementation, partnerships with AI software companies or further research.
“AI is winning over people in the accounting sector, and will continue to do so in the future,” Armstrong said. “It’s very exciting.”
About the Survey
This random double-opt-in survey of 500 American corporate tax and auditing professionals was commissioned by Moss Adams between Oct. 27 and Nov. 1, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).