AI, or outsourcing? Or both? AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth takes a big picture view on how things might develop for your practice – and for us.
Will AI be so clever, intuitive and powerful that you won’t need outsourcers to support your firm? And, by that definition, does that mean you’ll be able to reduce your own headcount?
These are the kind of questions that we’re hearing (or, quite frankly, we’re being asked) at the moment. Let’s not beat around the bush: there are a number of people in the outsourcing space that see AI as a huge competitor to their entire business models.
What about us at AdvanceTrack? Well, we’re not complacent enough to think that it definitely won’t impact us. In fact, the opposite. Those of you that have worked with AdvanceTrack will know that we’re big investors in technology. Our IT has to work with your practice’s systems, and securely. It needs to be ‘on’ as much as physically possible, and also enable fast and effective communication (of both knowledge and data) between us and our practice partners.
We’ve seen various technological leaps and iterations over the past 20 years, and we view AI as another leap. Broadly speaking, we will use AI.
AdvanceTrack is, by definition, an extension of practices’ own business. And if you’re thinking of using AI, or having it placed upon you through developments and updates across practice and accounting platform tech, then it makes sense that it will impact our systems, our operations – our way of doing things – too.
Big data, big questions
Certainly, we can envisage the likes of Xero and QuickBooks looking to add intelligence into their offerings. After all, with masses of data at hand they will be able to turn that into knowledge to be actioned upon. This evolution will drive hundreds and thousands of micro-decisions made on your behalf, which will save practitioners seconds, that turn into minutes and then hours.
Perhaps, at AdvanceTrack, our masses of information at hand will be similarly leveraged by AI tools? It’s still conjecture – and we would be rightly cautious about what that would mean for your clients’ data security.
AI may well free up your people’s time even further than current levels of automation can do. That’s true – but that will be the case for AdvanceTrack’s people, too. We’ve no doubt that our offering will evolve, in tandem with the way practices operate too.
We’re still not at the stage where just a review is needed of client files. There is still plenty of up-front work and checking before the validation stage. Things will change, and it’s possible at a faster rate than we can envisage. But, whatever the pace of change, we hope to still be very much in the mix of helping practices grow – perhaps with AI in there too, helping us all grow faster and higher.
Vipul Sheth is MD of AdvanceTrack Outsourcing
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