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Accounting Today

Free AI education and other tech stories you may have missed

By December 20, 2023No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Accounting Today)


1. Using ChatGPT for accounting? You may want to think again

As ChatGPT continues to expand within the professional realm, there’s one area where it shows some inadequacy. Professor David Wood of Brigham Young University ran a study that tested ChatGPT’s accuracy rate with accounting. End result: The technology scored below students who took the same exam (47.4% to 76.7%). The study showed it had trouble with items that involved a lot of math, like managerial assessments. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: One explanation offered by experts is that solving certain problems involves a degree of “logical reasoning” — something ChatGPT has yet to be fully programmed to do. The takeaway is the same for any technical type of profession, be it legal, engineering, accounting or medicine: You don’t want to rely on ChatGPT for the answers.  It can help, but you need experts to validate.

2. Amazon to host free ‘AI Ready’ courses

Last month Amazon announced the launch of “AI Ready,” its new program that will offer free artificial intelligence training to more than 2 million across the globe, to support “professionals looking to upskill” as stated in the press release. Per Amazon, eight new courses will be offered by AWS through the website and are also available to non-Amazon employees. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: What a great way to get your employees trained. And what a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to become AI programmers and experts. In terms of course-level, AI Ready is designed for beginners and advanced users alike — and aimed at those in “nontechnical” fields. One of the stated goals is to “help level the playing field of AI education,” as stated by Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS’s vice president of data and AI. The company also emphasized that AI training will bring opportunities to earn 47% more in salaries.

3. New accounting software launches

Collaborative product developer CoralTree just announced its launch of Basil — an all-in-one management software tool for accountants and business owners. Dubbed as the “cure for app overload,” Basil integrates business management and accounting tools into one product. With a subscription price of $30 per month, features include a workflow tool for task management, time tracking and reports, QuickBooks online integration, and a centralized client database among others. (Source: PRWeb)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: It’s been a while since a cloud accounting platform caught my eye, and this one is very interesting. Like some of its larger competitors, Basil aims to be an all-in-one platform for business management. Its monthly price is competitive and it also includes CRM, chat and collaborative features. Definitely worth a look.

4. Xero adds bill payments, e-invoicing

Speaking of cloud accounting platforms, New Zealand tech company Xero recently added new features to its platform to help small businesses in the U.K., according to a company press release. One of them — a bill payments tool called eInvoicing — will help business owners easily manage and pay bills, eliminating manual work. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: If you’re a user of popular accounts payable management platforms like Bill or Ramp, keep an eye on this. Although just for U.K. companies now, Xero is starting to incorporate some of these tools — where invoices are scanned automatically and uploaded — into its core product.

5. Microsoft Edge to translate videos in real-time

Writer Sean Endicott reported that Microsoft Edge — the AI-powered web browser for Windows — has a soon-to-be-enabled translation tool for video content. According to Endicott’s report, translations will be available in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian. Though the tool hasn’t been activated, it will “soon be in testing” on Windows Canary Channel, where the translation tool was first noticed. No details on when this feature will be up and running. (Source: Windows Central)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: There are some AI applications doing this already, but they cost and need to be integrated. Once this feature is available in Edge, you and your employees will be able to access more online content, regardless of the language.

6. ChatGPT gets its biggest update so far

Last month, OpenAI held its first developer conference where several updates to ChatGPT were announced. Among them were “Create a GPT,” which allows plus-subscribers to create their personal AI assistant, and “Create a GPT,” which will let users “customize ChatGPT for a specific purpose.” The OpenAI blog provides examples and instructions. The other announcement is the launch of an app store that will house the GPT creations, and that builders will be able to monetize their product based on usage. ChatGPT has also received a “turbo boost” with the capacity to incorporate and process current data up to April 2023 — a notable development from the previous version. (Source: TechRadar)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: ChatGPT passed 100 million active users recently and continues to be popular with many of my clients. As it matures, it’s becoming a reliable productivity tool. What excites me the most of these announcements is the app store — truly a place that will create future tech millionaires, just like what happened when the iPhone was released. If you haven’t started using ChatGPT in your business, you should seriously invest some time.

7. The best laptops of 2023

Sam Singleton and Ashley Biancuzzo of PCWorld shared their pics of best laptops, 2-in-1s and best deals. Among their choices of Best Laptop Deals are Lenovo’s Think 1X Nano and HP-Victus. For Best Laptops overall, the Acer Aspire 3 and Acer Chromebook Spin 514 made their list — the spacious keyboard and webcam for the former, battery life for the latter. If you’re a gamer, they’re Best Budget Gaming Laptop” is the MSI Thin GF63 for the price and 1080p gaming feature. Their list was based on vetted testing by their tech team, who measured for “rigorous usability.” Visit the link to see the others that made their list. (Source: PCWorld)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: Another great list from PCWorld for any business owner looking to purchase these devices this year.

8. Google Maps gets a massive AI upgrade

Google Maps is getting a huge artificial intelligence upgrade, with five new features. (Source: Fox News)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: On the most popular mapping platform globally, users can now be digitally immersed into locations using “Immersive View.” The feature presents a virtual reality view of a chosen location with 3D imaging of the surroundings. Users can also see the same surroundings in “real time.” The Google Maps Search feature will now retrieve suggested locations based on a user’s preferences — for example, if you’re seeking places to buy athletic gear, the AI will identify specific stores/locations based on your search history. Another valuable upgrade is “Lane Navigation,” which will give users a detailed preview of their route in advance, so they know which lane they need to be in for route changes or U-turns. As a frequent user on my business travels, these changes will be a welcome productivity tool.

9. LegalZoom and Novo partner

Business banking company Novo and legal tech services LegalZoom have partnered to help entrepreneurs and startups simplify their financial and legal due diligence. (Source: Novo)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: By merging services, those who use LegalZoom to create an LLC for example, can complete a two-step process with Novo and open a newly formed business banking account. According to the two companies, the partnership resolves the task of researching a vetted legal resource while offering direct access to financial services. As Novo’s executive vice president of marketing, Brad Paterson, pointed out, “Integrating LegalZoom services into the Novo platform marks a significant step forward in Novo’s mission to create an all-in-one solution for small businesses’ financial and operational needs.”

10. Facebook Stories API helps creators share more

Meta has added the ability for members to share stories from third-party applications. Facebook Stories APIs will broaden users’ ability to add content tailored for a specific story — for example, content that relies on specific templates or images. Editing and design platform Piscart allows users to “personalize Facebook stories” or upload previously created templates from its design team. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your firm and clients: According to previous reports, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that more than 500 million people use the Facebook Stories tool. This announcement, some speculate, is a move to attract more professionally focused story creators. For entrepreneurs in this space, these tools could be a great way to take their storytelling to another level.

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