Generative AI is set to revolutionize the way professionals work in various industries, according to a new report by Thomson Reuters. The report, titled Future of Professionals, surveyed more than 1,200 individuals working in legal, tax & accounting, global trade, risk management, and compliance fields across North America, South America, and the United Kingdom. The aim was to gain insights into how AI, tech, and automation will impact their operations over the next five years.
The survey revealed that an overwhelming majority (67%) of respondents believe that AI will have a transformational or high impact on their profession within the next five years. Moreover, 66% predicted that AI will create new professional career paths. From legal and tax & accounting to corporate and government work, generative AI is expected to become a game-changer in the professional services industries.
Steve Hasker, President and CEO of Thomson Reuters, stated that generative AI is different from other innovations as it has captured our collective imaginations and changed everything. The report highlights that the power of AI has the potential to improve productivity, internal efficiency, and client services. Notably, 45% of respondents expressed hope that AI would lead to improved productivity, highlighting the importance of producing high-quality advice. This insight necessitates professionals to redefine their role as advisors and adapt their business models to cater to customers’ needs now and in the future.
The report also noted some cautious views regarding generative AI. Concerns over accuracy (25%), job loss (19%), demise of the profession (17%), data security (15%), and ethics (15%) were voiced by respondents. However, the majority of professionals remained optimistic about the positive impact of AI on their industries.
In the legal sector, improved productivity and efficiency were seen as the biggest positive effects of AI. Over half of the respondents at law firms (55%) viewed AI as an opportunity for increased revenue and lower costs. Additionally, 81% of legal professionals expected new services that would create new revenue streams to emerge within the next five years.
For tax & accounting professionals, generative AI was seen as a means to free up time for delivering more value to clients. Productivity and internal efficiency were cited as the highest priorities for tax & accounting firms (59%) and corporate tax & accounting departments (75%). Respondents in this field also predicted the emergence of new career paths that do not require traditional tax qualifications.
Government professionals expressed their optimism that AI could help in areas of training, recruitment, well-being, and engagement. However, they anticipated slower AI adoption compared to their private sector counterparts due to concerns regarding data security and resistance to change.
Ultimately, the report highlights the significant role generative AI is expected to play in transforming professional services. While professionals remain optimistic about the benefits it can bring, caution is advised to address challenges like accuracy, job displacement, data security, and ethics. With the right approach and adaptation, professionals can leverage the power of AI to enhance productivity, efficiency, and client services, ultimately reshaping the way they work in the future.