Generative AI: Maturing from theoretical to practical use

Generative AI (GenAI) is rapidly transitioning from theoretical exploration to tangible applications, transforming the accounting and finance profession and the overall business landscape. Firms are increasingly integrating AI across audit, tax, advisory services and more, revealing its potential as a powerful equalizer for organizations of all sizes.

Our year-long GenAI initiative, which includes our recent special report and toolkit, has focused on uncovering how AI is being used to maximize the opportunity within the work you do every day. Here are a few notable examples we’ve uncovered:

Advisory services

Because GenAI can generate textual context and plausible financial narratives, it’s well-suited for client advisory service (CAS) engagements and any scenario in which clients seek deeper clarity and insight into their financials. Given firms’ time and resource constraints across engagements, GenAI capabilities can provide substantial relief—and value.

Ultimately, as capabilities advance, firms will likely task GenAI tools with analyzing large volumes of data, giving them the first opportunity to solve problems, then editing and updating as necessary before sharing the results with clients. In all these scenarios, CPAs benefit from having more time to focus on the strategic aspects of advisory rather than all the time-intensive baseline data work that enables advisory-level insight.

Providers like Aider AI, a member of the 2024 AICPA and Startup Accelerator cohort, is already unlocking this possibility with tools like their AI-powered solutions that enable firms to scale advisory services.


AI has the potential to help tax preparers tackle tasks in minutes that would traditionally take hours or weeks. For example, CPAs can already use AI-enabled tax prep platforms to upload or drag-and-drop a client file into the system. In minutes, they can receive a completed 1040 (plus workpapers) that incorporates complex elements such as schedules and K-1s. Other solutions can help CPAs determine whether a client qualifies for an R&D credit, write comprehensive, detailed memos supporting the position, and complete the credit through to filing.

AI tools can also simplify tax-related research tasks. BPM LLP used Microsoft OpenAI to develop a secure GPT bot service for its employees, providing them with reliable tax expertise on demand. The bot uses trusted data sources to bolster its intelligence, references current policies, and provides links to the publications it uses to generate responses.

Audit and assurance

While current audit software has streamlined the centralization of workpaper documentation, it often fails to capture crucial client conversations. AI meeting assistants change this by providing near-real-time, accurate meeting transcriptions. When combined with the power of large language models, these transcriptions enable audit teams to efficiently search through vast amounts of text to locate specific details. This preserves important dialogues and ensures no critical information is overlooked. AI is also reducing risk by identifying anomalies quicker and allowing auditors full data sets rather than just a sample to review. You can find a step-by-step guide to this client-facing use case, as well as others in our GenAI initiative.

Practice management

There are equally compelling advantages to leveraging GenAI internally. For example, Marcum LLP developed, a custom GenAI interface, to help its professionals drive efficiency. The firm also tracks the frequency of specific questions posed to to inform future training plans and programs.

Smaller firms are also taking advantage. Yogi CPA uses GenAI to automate research, enhance productivity, and move work to the review stage more quickly. They even use the tools to research prospects before initiating introductory calls and assist with proposal writing. The potential for AI tools to transform and improve the internal workings of firms has only just begun to be explored.


Gone are the days when we heard about the potential and theoretical possibilities of artificial intelligence. The emerging technology is maturing, and while it has yet to hit its trough of disillusionment in the Gartner Hype Cycle, we are seeing the practical application of GenAI in firms of all sizes.

By leveraging the capabilities of AI, firms can free up more time to focus on strategic advisory work, automate research, simplify tax preparation, and enhance productivity across the board. The best way to position your firm for success is to start learning about the possibilities and opportunities AI presents, while staying informed on its risks, limitations and the regulatory landscape.

Learn more in our special report and other resources developed as part of our GenAI initiative.

As’s vice president of Strategy & Innovation, Kacee Johnson manages the technology ecosystem to identify emerging trends that are driving change in the profession and works collaboratively with the vendor and thought-leader community to develop thought leadership content and events for C-suite leaders.

A Closer Look at Our Startup Accelerator Companies

The of International Certified Professional Accountants Startup Accelerator is an annual program that finds, invests in, and guides early-stage tech companies with solutions that support accounting and finance professionals. This blog series provides a deeper look at the five companies in the 2021 cohort.