Deloitte is equipping 75,000 of its staff with a generative AI-powered chatbot to help them carry out basic tasks more quickly. It is the latest indication that the biggest names in accountancy – the so-called Big Four firms – are embracing automation as a way of boosting productivity.
The Deloitte chatbot, named PairD, will be rolled out to 75,000 of the company’s staff in Europe and the Middle East. Deloitte employs more than 450,000 people worldwide and reported revenue of $65bn for the financial year to the end of June 2023.
How Deloitte staff are using the PairD AI chatbot
Staff given access to the Deloitte PairD AI chatbot can use it to create presentations presentations in PowerPoint, as well as write emails and code, Deloitte is said to have developed the tool in-house in its AI Academy, an AI training programme it runs for clients, rather than relying on technology from a third-party vendor such as OpenAI.
However, it seems it has not been plain sailing since launch, with the FT reporting that staff have been told that the new tool “may produce inaccurate information about people, places and facts”. Users have been told they need to manually perform due diligence and quality assurance “to validate the ‘accuracy and completeness’ of the chatbot’s output before using it for work”, the FT report says, quoting a person familiar with the system.
A statement from Deloitte said PairD is also able to “create project plans, give project management best practice advice and suggest task prioritisation”.
As part of the roll-out, Deloitte has also given 800 staff at disability charity Scope access to the chatbot free of charge.
Richard Houston, CEO of Deloitte UK and Deloitte NSE, said: “Generative AI should be available and accessible to everyone and businesses like ours must ensure that the adoption of AI promotes social equality rather than exacerbating existing disparities.
“But it’s not only about access to technology – it’s access to the skills to use it that will really create opportunity to help close the digital divide. We want to increase the accessibility of our AI platform and help Scope make full use of PairD to benefit the charity and the people they support.”
Big Four have AI ambitions
With AI having grabbed the attention of businesses across myriad sectors in the past 12 months, it’s perhaps that accountancy’s Big Four – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – are looking at ways to utilise the technology and offer more AI consultancy services to their clients.
As reported by Tech Monitor, EY has been using artificial intelligence to help spot fraud as part of its auditing business. A system developed and deployed with UK clients checked ten companies’ accounts, detecting two suspicious activity cases. Both of these were later confirmed as fraudulent.
Elsewhere, KPMG has also given its staff AI systems to help them in their work, and this has reportedly enabled junior staff to take on more advanced tasks. Graduates are now able to undertake tax work that would previously have only been handed to colleagues with at least three years of experience.
However, Deloitte’s embrace of AI comes just a few months after it announced 800 redundancies in the UK as part of a cost-cutting drive.