A key priority in the Tech Faculty is researching and sharing practical experience of how technologies such as AI are being used in different parts of the profession. So it was great to sit on a panel yesterday at the launch of ICAEW’s new report from the Corporate Finance Faculty on AI in Corporate Advisory.
The work has brought together a large number of stakeholders from the firms, the legal profession, the tech sector, government and others to share their experience of how AI is being used today across the corporate advisory sector, the potential opportunities from it and some of the risks we need to consider. It includes a wide range of recommendations for organisations, professional bodies, governments, regulators and others to support adoption of AI. In particular, it highlights how the technology can help professional advisors add more value, and how professional judgment will become even more important to make appropriate use of AI-based tools.
I presented two challenges in the discussion. First, the report highlights a big gap between potential and reality – firms rated the potential at 9/10 but their own adoption at closer to 4/10. This gap is something we see much more broadly across the profession, and therefore a key question is – how do we help firms and businesses of all sizes get closer to that 9/10 potential? Developing detailed use cases and highlighting practical experience is an important part of making it real for people. Mechanisms that bring together members to share experience, such as our Mid-market tech forum, can provide further support.
Second, I talked about the importance of ethics, and the opportunity for the profession to take a leading role in developing new thinking here. A critical part of being a trusted professional advisor is the ethics code and we need to make sure that remains a strength in an AI era, especially when competing against potential new technology-based entrants to our markets. We are already doing work on these issues with our report on new technologies, ethics and accountability and this will become more important in the coming years.