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Ignore ChatGPT “at your own peril”

Written on Aug 31, 2023

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

Those hesitant to start using ChatGPT are missing out on critical career opportunities.  

“This is a new technology that everybody needs to start spending time with,” said Mark Ross, CPA, an accountancy executive in residence at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business. “They need to figure out the opportunity it provides.”   

Ross spoke at the Aug. 24 OSCPA Town Hall, hosted by OSCPA President & CEO, Scott Wiley, CAE, along with Yibo (James) Zhang, PhD, CPA, assistant professor at Miami University.  

Ross and Zhang recently partnered with OSCPA to conduct research into how the accounting profession in Ohio is using generative AI and opinions regarding the emerging technology, including sending out a study to OSCPA members. Among their findings from the study was the result that on a scale from 0-10 when asked about their usage of ChatGPT, participants reported a mean of 1.56. 

While Zhang and Ross acknowledged there is hesitation in the accounting profession when it comes to ChatGPT, the technology can help draft emails, summarize documents, analyze financial reports and more and be a productive tool for CPAs.  

One of the most common fears is that it cannot be trusted and will reveal private data. Of course, caution must be exercised when choosing what to share but this shouldn’t stop anyone from experimenting.  

“Until that trust issue gets dealt with, the maximum opportunities are going to be somewhat limited, because there's a fear of accidentally sharing information,” Ross said. “But that doesn't mean you can't do anything with it. If you can't learn you can't evolve. That's where we’ve got a lot of work to do.”  

Zhang said ChatGPT can also positively impact quality of life, such as reducing the amount of time professionals spend on certain tasks. Instead of spending a week reading a 100-page document, ChatGPT could do it instantly and give you a summary. Now you could spend your time verifying the comments and adding your own insights, turning potentially a week’s worth of work into one day.  

Rick Bawcum, CEO and founder of Cimatri who also spoke at the Town Hall, advised attendees to remain curious.  

“The famous question is ‘Will ChatGPT take my job?’” Bawcum said. “No, ChatGPT is not going to take your job. But if you're not using ChatGPT and somebody else is, it may be harder to stay employed.”  

ChatGPT shouldn’t be something you look at once or twice and then forget about, he said. Instead, true benefit will be found from continually finding new ways to learn and grow your skills from the technology.  

“The way this profession operates is for CPAs to stay relevant, you need to stay on top of these things,” Wiley said. “For those who ignore these types of transformative technologies, you do so at your own peril.” 

Register for the Sept. 21 Town Hall today!

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