The AI (artificial intelligence) CPA Marketer
Everyone has been bombarded in the past few weeks/months with news and posts about Artificial Intelligence ("AI"), particularly ChatGPT3. Big tech and big consulting are now saying that AI is the next big thing that will impact EVERYTHING (BTW: what happened to IoT and Blockchain?).
Every day there is more news about big tech and AI developments and new AI-enabled tools being launched.
- ChatGPT reached 100 million users less than two months after launching
- Microsoft announced a significant stake in OpenAI and recently rolled out integration with Bing
But ChatGPT is just one AI-enabled application that only scratches the surface of the potential of AI.
In the February 2023 issue of Inside Public Accounting, Apoorv Dwivedi, the founder of Fixyr, was quoted as saying,
Founder @ Fixyr
"AI is going to have the biggest impact on [accounting firm] marketers since the rapid and widespread adoption of smartphones. Yes, it's that big of a deal. There's nothing that's happened over the past 5-10 years that even comes remotely close in scope and magnitude of impact."
Meanwhile, Google rushed to roll out Bard, their answer to ChatGPT. One error in the Google chatbot's output led to a subsequent $100 billion drop in market value for Alphabet, Google's parent firm. That's the value the market puts on one single AI slip-up for Google - $100 billion. That only begins to put things into perspective.
So where should the Accounting Marketer start?
As someone responsible for marketing at a CPA firm, how do you begin to make sense of artificial intelligence and its potential impact on you, your firm, and your marketing? What can you do to get prepared?
While we are by no means experts in this field, here are some links and tools that we have found to be helpful.
1. Get a basic understanding of AI terminology and the landscape
As a marketer, you don't need to understand the math and the science behind artificial intelligence. However, you do need to have a basic understanding of some of the common terms used.
- Key AI Terminology - The Introduction to AI Guide for the US Government
- Simplilearn - What is Artificial Intelligence?
- BBC's Science Focus - What is ChatGPT3?
- McKinsey - What is Generative AI?
2. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for ChatGPT
At this time, basic access is still free of charge, with a premium, paid version available. So get a ChatGPT account, and begin playing around with the prompt interface.
3. Not sure what to say or how to use ChatGPT? Explore “Prompt Engineering”
Look for examples of how to write prompts. This is where you will get the most value out of ChatGPT. While it uses a natural language interface, knowing how to write prompts in generative language models will allow you to get the best results out of the tools.
Prompt engineering in ChatGPT refers to the process of creating questions or prompts to prompt the AI model (ChatGPT) to generate human-like responses. This involves carefully crafting questions or scenarios to guide the model towards generating relevant and informative answers.
The goal of prompt engineering is to create an engaging and useful conversation between the user and the AI model, while also making sure the model stays on topic and provides accurate information. For the average layperson, prompt engineering can help to create more natural and effective interactions with AI systems, making it easier to get the information you need and understand complex topics.
4. Poke around some of the other AI-enabled tools and make a short list of use cases for your organization
Regardless of what the technology is capable of, spending time and resources investigating tech that doesn't align with your business objectives and priorities is just a waste of your time.
Don't just look at what the technology is capable of; identify AI use cases that align with your firm's objectives. If you are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of your marketing department, identify repetitive and data-intensive processes.
ChatGPT is just the starting point. There are many AI-enabled applications out there. Here are some great aggregators that you can browse through:
5. Find a starting point for piloting AI
Of your short list of potential AI use cases, pick a low-hanging fruit opportunity. Focus on efficiencies - Look for areas that are already time-consuming and repetitive. These are likely good candidates for AI/ML/Automation.
Some potential use cases for AI in marketing at an accounting firm:
Review your processes and procedures, pick a tool to assist you, and clarify your objectives for what you hope to accomplish by leveraging said tool.
6. Enlist your IT department
Your IT department is your partner on this path. Make sure that they are aware of your exploration and work with them, not against them. For example, they may have concerns regarding security and stability. Still, they could also be a great ally in reviewing your MarTech stack and building the business case for AI adoption within your organization.
7. Measure your progress
The old management principle, "what gets measured gets managed," highlights the importance of tracking progress in any initiative or project. In the context of implementing AI in accounting marketing, tracking progress is crucial for ensuring success. By monitoring and measuring the results of your efforts, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions. It's also important to share your progress with your partners and stakeholders, as this can help build trust and support for your efforts. Regular updates provide transparency and accountability, and help to keep everyone informed and engaged. By tracking your progress and sharing your results, you can demonstrate the value of AI in accounting marketing and build momentum for your efforts.
8. Put together a training plan
This will be a journey, not a "once-and-done" activity. Look for training opportunities for yourself and your team. Set training objectives and incorporate these into your development plans. Identify training resources that align with your objectives. These could be blogs, webinars, associations, conferences and summits. If needed, secure the funding and support required.
- The Association for Accounting Marketing - The overall best resource for marketers, business development, and communications folks in accounting firms. AAM is starting to produce content on AI marketing for the accounting industry, including online chats fireside chats, deep-dive workshops, and breakouts at their annual conference.
- The Marketing AI Institute is not specific to the accounting industry, but still a great framework for learning about and applying AI in marketing.
- Fixyr AI Links and Resources for Accounting Marketers - Fixyr has put together a running tally of different links and tools we have come across that we have found useful. We update this list regularly, so check back often.
AI has the potential to revolutionize accounting marketing by providing new opportunities for personalization, automation, and data analysis. By understanding and implementing AI in their marketing strategies, accounting marketers can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their campaigns, stay ahead of the competition, and better serve their clients. However, implementing AI in accounting marketing requires careful planning, market research, and a clear understanding of the benefits and challenges involved. As with any new technology, it is essential to take the time to understand and master AI to reap its full benefits.
As we embark on this journey together, we hope this article has provided valuable insights and inspiration for accounting marketers looking to harness the power of AI in their marketing efforts.
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