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Tax, accounting professionals must adapt to rapid shifts in AI
Fri, 4th Aug 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) and technological change are putting pressure on tax, accounting and legal professions to adapt in order to thrive. 

Recognising the significance of this seismic shift, TheTax Summit 2023, hosted by The Tax Institute, has a sharp focus on providing todays tax and accounting professionals with the essential skills and knowledge to lead in the ever-evolving new age of AI.

Event speaker Victoria Lanyon, Senior Associate at King & Wood Mallesons, will join the Leadership in the New World panel discussion on day one of the event along with Andy Hung, Director, Professional Firms and International, CCH Integrator and Rachael McLean, Consulting and Training Executive at Wolters Kluwer, to discuss the challenges and opportunities brought about by technology in the tax profession.

Ahead of the event, Lanyon offers three key considerations for leading effectively in the AI era:

Think proactively: Invest time in new technology to see how you can best use it going forward. Lead with curiosity, and emphasise continuous learning. By encouraging a culture of growth within your organisation, your workforce will be empowered to adapt to the changing demands of the digital age. And with an investment in upskilling, you can future-proof your leadership while ensuring your team remains at the forefront of innovation, harnessing the full benefits of AI while avoiding potential pitfalls.

Use AI to complement, not replace, your intellect: Its critical to use technology to help you do your job not to replace your brain. Technology isnt a shortcut to doing the work. It functions more like the flippers worn in the pool to enhance swimming abilities. However, just like flippers alone won't propel you forward unless you also kick your legs and move your arms, technology's true potential relies on our active involvement and effort.

Discover a new niche: AI and other emerging technologies are rapidly changing the landscape, including the world of law. This unlocks a realm of potential, allowing emerging tax lawyers to find their niche. They could be the expert on cryptocurrencies tax or on AI and its effect on transactions.

"The sands are shifting. Leadership in this new world means embracing technology or risking being left behind," says Lanyon.

"But it should always be complemented by critical thinking and fact-checking. A recent incident serves as a stark reminder of this caution. 

"Lawyers who relied on ChatGPT for case law without fact-checking ended up submitting bogus information, leading to viral embarrassment and hefty fines. 

"This incident serves as a clear example that while technology can be a valuable ally, it cannot replace human intellect."

The significance of events like The Tax Summit cannot be understated. Theres a lot of value in attending in-person events, especially for emerging leaders whose careers revolve around effective communication. COVID made us all a bit rusty when it comes to small talk and public speaking. But The Tax Summit is a safe place to rebuild those skills and network.

Research estimates that emerging technologies like AI and automation could potentially replace a significant portion of jobs in various industries, including nearly 50,000 accountants in Australia in the next decade alone. With the labour market facing significant disruption, its vital employees stay current, continuing to develop their skills and adapt to the changing landscape.

The Tax Institutes President, and Chair of The Tax Summit Organising Committee, Marg Marshall, says, "There is no doubt that technology has a profound impact on the tax landscape. 

"At The Tax Institute, we firmly believe that embracing innovation is not merely an option but an imperative for leaders in the tax profession," she says.

"The age of AI demands a new, vastly different skill set from practitioners, which is why the theme of The Tax Summit 2023 is Spark Change, empowering professionals to navigate the digital frontier and beyond."

Attendees will have the unique opportunity to delve into the transformative power of technology on leadership. Through expert-led discussions and interactive sessions, the professions best and brightest will shed light on how practitioners can seamlessly adopt and use new technologies while fostering a culture of encouragement among their teams.

Lanyon joins a compelling speaker lineup of the nation's most forward-thinking minds, including Karen Payne, CTA, Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsmen; David Thodey, AO, Chair of Xero, Director and Chair in waiting at Ramsay; Australian Sporting Legend Kevin Sheedy; and many more. Held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC), The Tax Summit 2023 brings together taxation specialists, lawyers, accountants, newcomer tax professionals and business leaders as well as anyone with an interest in the latest issues impacting businesses on a local and global scale.