There’s a lot of talk (and hype) around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning at the moment, but there are clearly some very interesting opportunities for the profession. So, we held a workshop with Portsmouth University this week which brought together machine learning experts and accountants, especially those in audit and forensics, to explore the issues. My colleague Rick Payne from the Finance and Management Faculty and I were joined by Dr Edward Smart, a machine learning expert from Portsmouth’s Institute of Industrial Research, and Prof Lisa Jack, from Accounting and Financial Management, to lead discussions.
The initial focus was on novelty detection although it turned into a wide-ranging discussion. Here are some of my key learnings:
There were also many other questions raised about the practical application and longer-term implications. To what extent do models really learn and how do they cope with changing human behaviour? How will we gain assurance around the use of ‘black box’ algorithms in businesses? What about the future skills and roles of accountants? And is there space for collaboration across the profession here, or will it be a purely competitive world?
We are developing a short paper summarising the opportunities and challenges for the profession from AI, so if you’re interested in contributing, please get in touch!