PwC has entered into a strategic partnership with OpenAI to leverage AI capabilities, providing clients with advice on complex matters in tax, legal, and human resources. This move comes as part of PwC’s drive to enhance efficiency and client services, making it the first of the Big Four audit firms to collaborate with OpenAI.
19 October 2023 – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) has embarked on a strategic partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, to offer its clients AI-generated advice. This collaboration comes as the Big Four audit firms aim to enhance efficiency and trim costs by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
PwC is set to employ AI to provide insights and recommendations on intricate matters related to taxation, legal affairs, and human resources. These applications range from conducting due diligence on businesses to identifying compliance issues and even offering guidance on authorizing business transactions.
This partnership establishes PwC as the first of the Big Four audit firms to join forces with OpenAI, a pioneering organization in generative AI technology renowned for its ChatGPT chatbot.
The prominent audit firms have been focused on cost-cutting strategies amid a slowdown in professional services. PwC, for instance, has implemented pay freezes and bonus reductions for some of its 25,000 UK staff. Similarly, Deloitte LLP is expected to reduce its UK workforce by over 800 positions, Ernst & Young LLP is planning to trim approximately 5% of staff from its UK financial services consulting division, and KPMG LLP intends to cut 125 consulting jobs.
PwC emphasizes that this partnership with OpenAI, although not ChatGPT-based, will not lead to job cuts in the near future.
PwC’s new AI system, already dubbed as “behaving like a 25-year tenure partner,” according to Bivek Sharma, the Chief Operating Officer for Tax, Legal, and People at PwC UK, is instrumental in addressing the growing global compliance burden and complexity in corporate management.
The AI system is currently being introduced in the UK, where roughly 650 staff members will have access for testing and training. PwC plans to expand access to more than 10,000 employees across 50 countries in the coming months. This technology enables employees to handle multiple major projects in a time frame that was previously required for just one, and at a higher standard.
Professionals in the financial industry are showing enthusiasm for the potential applications of AI in their workflows. Brad Lightcap, the Chief Operating Officer of OpenAI, noted that AI models could serve as powerful assistants in legal, accounting, and tax workflows.
The Big Four audit firms are intensifying their investments in AI to boost productivity. KPMG, for instance, announced a substantial investment in Microsoft’s generative AI and cloud services. Ernst & Young recently unveiled a partnership with IBM to streamline human resources processes using AI, and Deloitte has expanded its collaboration with Google Cloud to create AI-powered solutions for clients. PwC has also been utilizing a chatbot service since March to expedite tasks like document summarization.
Fiona Czerniawska, CEO of Source Global Research, cautioned that there is a risk of professional service firms prioritizing AI tools for cost reduction over developing improved solutions.
PwC has not disclosed the specific value of its deal with OpenAI and Harvey but has committed £100 million (approximately US$122 million or RM577.18 million) to AI investment in the UK this year. – ref: The Edge