The AI Era: Who Will Fill the Labor Gaps?

Date August 16, 2023
Categories

With projected labor shortages of 2.1 million by 2030 and the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), Industrial Robotics is expected to increase by nearly 14 percent by the end of 2023. But the replacement of manual labor with advanced technologies creates its own demand for workers, including programmers, engineers, and mechanics, as well as traditional line workers.

Historically, automation has been thought to eliminate jobs, and indeed, has slowly phased out an estimated 1.7 million manufacturing jobs. But studies also predict that AI will create 97 million new jobs by 2025.

Who will fill these jobs? One large market of potential workers: young people who have grown up playing and programming games and watching online videos. Students are encouraged to pursue their likes and follow their ambitions; many students have honed skills that complement or match the new demands of manufacturing by “playing.” Those acquired skills could lead to fulfilling careers. If presented in the right light, even as early as middle school when kids are beginning to consider “what I want to be when I grow up,” appealing to their love of gaming could produce more workers to fill the new-era manufacturing labor gaps.

Promoters of AI argue that it will augment workers’ productivity not replace them. They propose that it is not good at work that requires precise hand-eye coordination, complex strategic planning, or dealing with unknown and unstructured spaces. It is, however, credited with improving goods and services by streamlining tasks. So as opposed to being replaced, workers will need to adapt through training to collaborate with AI for greater productivity.

People are needed to use and improve technology. Automation brings a need for training and analytics. Workers will need skills such as basic mathematics, strong verbal and written communication, creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and problem solving. The reimaged jobs will range from highly technical to basic. In manufacturing, the implementation of AI ranges from predictive maintenance and back-office robotic process automation to inventory and supply chain management. AI can be used to detect errors and speed the production process, but it doesn’t replace the need for humans.

If the future of manufacturing is more electronic and computer based, today’s younger generations are preparing themselves to be perfectly suited to fill those jobs and eliminate those labor gaps.

To discuss options for addressing your labor needs, contact a member of HBK Manufacturing Solutions at manufacturing@hbkcpa.com or 330-758-8613.

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You’re Planning to Exit Your Business. Can AI help?

Date May 1, 2023
Authors Keith A. Veres

Artificial Intelligence and its voice ChatGPT are all the rage. And deservedly so. Just ask a question or send a prompt and you’ll get a detailed response. But how much can you rely on an AI chatbot? After all, it’s simply the compilation of “training” it has received on web content. I wondered if ChatGPT could be a business advisor, that is, provide insightful advice to a client facing a complicated financial issue. So, I asked AI what it could do for a business owner planning to exit their business. Here’s how the bot replied:

Exit planning is a critical process for business owners, as it ensures that their business will continue to thrive even after they step down. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), business owners now have access to powerful tools that can help them plan and prepare for a smooth exit. In this article, we explore ten ways that AI can have a significant impact on the business owner preparing their exit plans.

  1. Business valuation: AI-powered algorithms can analyze financial data, industry trends, and other factors to provide a more accurate business valuation, which can inform exit planning decisions.
  2. Succession planning: AI can help business owners identify potential successors and develop succession plans by analyzing data on employee performance, leadership potential, and other relevant factors.
  3. Risk assessment: AI can help business owners identify potential risks and vulnerabilities that could impact their exit plan by analyzing data on market trends, regulatory changes, and other external factors.
  4. Leadership development: AI-powered coaching and training programs can help potential successors develop the skills they need to lead the business effectively.
  5. Talent management: AI can help identify high-potential employees who may be suitable for leadership roles in the future, allowing business owners to invest in their development and retain key talent.
  6. Knowledge management: AI-powered knowledge management systems can help preserve critical knowledge and expertise within the business, ensuring a smoother transition during the exit process.
  7. Financial planning: AI can provide insights into the financial implications of different exit scenarios, helping business owners make informed decisions about the timing and structure of the exit plan.
  8. Legal compliance: AI-powered tools can help ensure that the exit plan complies with relevant legal and regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of legal issues arising in the future.
  9. Data security: AI can help business owners protect sensitive data during the exit process by identifying potential security threats and implementing appropriate measures to mitigate them.
  10. Communication: AI-powered communication tools can facilitate communication and collaboration between stakeholders involved in the exit process, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and reducing the risk of misunderstandings or conflicts.

In conclusion, AI can revolutionize the way business owners approach exit planning by providing them with powerful tools for business valuation, risk assessment, talent management, knowledge management, and legal compliance. By leveraging AI to develop and execute a comprehensive succession plan, business owners can ensure a smooth transition of leadership, retain key talent, and protect the long-term success of their business. As AI continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, its role in succession planning is only set to grow, and businesses that embrace these tools will be better positioned for success in the future.

I immediately asked the same AI to explore why AI may not be ready to outperform humans in the critical field of exit and succession planning. Here’s how the bot replied:

While AI has the potential to transform succession planning for businesses, business owners and their advisors may have reservations about relying solely on AI for all ten ways listed. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Business valuation: While AI can analyze large amounts of data to determine a business’s value, it may not yet have the same level of intuition and experience as a human appraiser in interpreting the data.
  2. Succession planning: AI may struggle to account for the nuances of human behavior and interpersonal dynamics when identifying potential successors and developing succession plans.
  3. Risk assessment: AI may not be able to capture all potential risks, especially those that are unique to a particular business or industry.
  4. Leadership development: AI may not be able to replicate the personalized coaching and mentoring that human advisors can provide to potential successors.
  5. Talent management: AI may struggle to accurately assess employees’ potential for leadership roles, as there are many intangible factors that contribute to leadership success.
  6. Knowledge management: AI may have difficulty capturing tacit knowledge, which is often passed down through informal channels and may not be easily documented.
  7. Financial planning: AI may not be able to account for all the complex financial factors that go into succession planning, such as tax implications and estate planning.
  8. Legal compliance: AI may not be able to interpret complex legal requirements and regulations as well as human attorneys.
  9. Data security: AI may not be able to anticipate all potential security threats, and human oversight is still necessary to ensure that sensitive data is protected.
  10. Communication: While AI can facilitate communication between stakeholders, it may not be able to replicate the human intuition and empathy that are necessary for effective communication and collaboration.

In summary, while AI can be a powerful tool for business owners and their advisors in the succession planning process, it may not yet be ready to do a great job in all ten ways. Human expertise and intuition are still valuable, and a combination of AI and human insight may be the most effective approach to succession planning.

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Whew! It’s nice to know that we are still needed.

It’s clear that it will be increasingly important for both business owners and their trusted advisors to understand the evolving capabilities of AI. Those who integrate AI effectively will have a partner to help them perform at the highest levels, well beyond those late in adopting these incredible tools that are being revealed and refined at an accelerated pace.

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Using AI to Add Value

Date July 13, 2020
Categories

HBK prides itself on offering the collective intelligence of hundreds of professionals committed to delivering exceptional value to clients. HBK continuously monitors industry trends as one way to provide higher quality services to our clients and help them improve how they conduct their businesses. Whether it’s moving into new sectors or adopting new technologies, we see innovation as a critical differentiator in our fiercely competitive landscape.

Critical to our success is delivering anticipatory services to clients that employ advanced technologies. Combining technology with human expertise and experience, HBK is enhancing our audit and strategic advisory services through our ability to understand and interpret our clients’ increasingly vast and complex data sets. We have deployed MindBridge Ai Auditor to bring artificial intelligence and machine learning to bear on client general ledger (GL) data, giving us a highly intelligent and interpretative risk-based approach to analyzing and reporting on financial health.

How AI offers the opportunity to get ahead
“The technology mandate was issued by our CEO,” said HBK Principal Christopher Marrie. “We want to be on the front end of adapting AI industry solutions. Our more sophisticated clients are also moving to new technologies and they see our commitment as a benefit to them.”

Adopting AI has also attracted new recruits. With technology being a top trend in hiring for public accounting, that HBK can satisfy the demands of an increasingly tech-savvy and analytical workforce is a key advantage.

“New technology is something that’s talked about by candidates interested in public accounting,” Antonio Ribeira, CPA, Senior Manager at HBK explains. “No one wants to be your stereotypical auditor crunching Excel spreadsheets. AI lets them offload tedious work so they can focus on developing more interesting and valuable analysis and insights.”

Bringing AI into the firm
As with any digital transformation, the move to MindBridge Ai Auditor required both a technical plan and people to fit new capabilities into our existing environment. Most critical was getting staff on board.

“Converting to new ways of operating is a challenge in any organization,” Marrie said. “To get the new technology into broad use as quickly as possible, we provided information about how Ai Auditor works—that it isn’t a black box and that it provides transparency to the analysis. We also detailed how it adds value for our clients.”

Training for HBK auditors involved a course curriculum and adoption strategy provided by MindBridge. The courses ran through real-world scenarios, from data ingestion to risk analysis, which proved an excellent path to understanding how the technology works.

“We’ve used other audit software packages that weren’t as easy to implement as Ai Auditor,” said Ribeira. “They often came with their own set of problems to overcome. But the MindBridge training and adoption teams came in to guide us and we found the process very intuitive.”

Real results with AI
As HBK began using Ai Auditor on client engagements, we found improvements across the board. Having the opportunity to investigate entire general ledgers (GL) in detail and use AI-based scoring to focus on the highest areas of risk has transformed our auditing process.

“The biggest advantage was in planning and testing,” said Marrie. “AI identifies risks and highlights transactions that are particularly difficult to catch. This makes the audit smarter as well as simplifies the process.”

The adoption strategy included getting clients on board with the process, ensuring they were comfortable with a new way of doing things.

With three years of AI experience under our belts, we have plans to extend the application of AI.

“AI will empower a shift to non-traditional services,” Marrie said. “AI lets us develop a deeper and better understanding of clients, which is one of our core values.

“Recently, one of our tax clients was considering an exit-business transaction and didn’t have the expertise internally to assess financial risk,” he explained. “With over $50 million in revenue, the business had a level of exposure that was both substantial and complex, but with AI Auditor, the analysis was simple. We could upload the entire GL and tell the client everything that appeared unusual or high risk.”

As traditional audit becomes more transactional and less lucrative for firms, AI opens up new opportunities for the kind of consultative and advisory engagements that deliver higher value for clients.

“It’s almost impossible to come up with a pricing model for going through an entire GL manually,” noted Marrie. “Even coming up with a ballpark estimate for manually doing the things that AI Auditor does by design would be daunting, much less guaranteeing that manual methods would be as effective. It’s clear that the traditional ways of working are going away and AI will evolve how things are done in audit and assurance.”

As we can offer insights and value with AI that we couldn’t before, we are moving toward getting four years of data from clients to report on. It’s as impressive as it is valuable. AI isn’t something that’s up and coming; it’s already here.

For more information on MindBridge Ai Auditor or to sign up for a demonstration, visit MindBridge.ai.

About MindBridge:
Through the power of human-centric artificial intelligence, MindBridge helps organizations deliver rapid value to their clients with deeper insights and higher risk assurance for 100% of their data. With MindBridge Ai Auditor, the world’s first AI-powered auditing solution, organizations across multiple industries are augmenting human capacity to restore confidence in their financial data.

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