As CPAs, our role has never been more relevant or important. We have a responsibility to the public to build trust in our capital markets by helping to make sure there is reliable, quality information stakeholders can use to make decisions. But as society and the business environment continues to change, CPAs must also take steps to adjust by implementing new technology — such as artificial intelligence — and upskilling to meet new market needs.
At PwC, we are making a series of investments in areas that are critically important to companies’ ability to build trust and deliver outcomes, including new technology. These investments are critical for our clients, stakeholders, employees and the success of our firm, and I’m proud to help lead these initiatives alongside our U.S. leadership team. For example, the firm recently announced a $1 billion investment to expand and scale our AI offerings to help clients reimagine their businesses through the power of generative AI.
And it doesn’t stop there. In the audit, we’re investing an additional $1 billion globally to build an innovative new technology ecosystem that will help standardize, simplify, centralize and automate our audit work and enable our teams to deliver a faster and better experience for our clients across the PwC network. This is critical. This initiative brings consistent technology, processes and standards to our full global network. The new program will enable a fully integrated, end-to-end audit by managing the relationship between client data and audit capabilities (e.g., visualization, analytics and risk assessment) using machine learning and AI with simplified, streamlined processes. This multiyear, tech-enabled transformation of our global assurance business will boldly redefine how our audit is executed and experienced.
So, what does this mean for our clients and our people? For our clients, it will create a more seamless and efficient experience by minimizing disruption, reducing burdens and delivering insights and quality. And for our people, the new platform will allow them to further embrace technology and automation to focus on higher risk, more judgmental areas of our assurance that require a higher level of critical thinking. Overall, we believe it will create a better experience and improved quality and efficiency across the audit cycle.
New technology, including machine learning and AI, will help propel the accounting profession forward, but it’s just one piece of our work and cannot replace the judgment and experience of human auditors. Many prominent AI systems are built on language models, but to successfully incorporate AI into accounting, it needs to be built on a life model, including measurement and severity, assessing likelihood and values. This is just one of many reasons why AI and technology cannot replace the valuable work completed by CPAs.
As accountants, we should leverage technology — alongside our emotional intelligence, judgment and professional skepticism — to deliver something bigger with a more efficient, effective process and better analysis and insights. The combination of people and technology is more powerful than either alone, and that’s what creates value. That’s why our firm takes a “human-led and tech-powered” approach.
Artificial intelligence and other technology — if used correctly — has real power to change the way businesses operate and the way we deliver public accounting. It’s incredibly exciting for our profession, and there’s never been a better time to be a CPA. But as business leaders, it’s up to us to make sure technology is delivered in a way that is responsible, fair and trustworthy. At PwC, we’re continuing to invest in our technology, processes and methodologies to accelerate the audit and upskill our professionals to manage and work alongside new technology to improve quality, efficiency and our people and clients’ experiences.