ChatGPT Hacks for Accountants 2024
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 3 years, you have heard of ChatGPT.
What you might not know is how you can use ChatGPT to automate your workflows and harness bleeding-edge AI technology.
So, stick with us for some real-world examples and resources you can use to make your life easier as an accountant in 2024.
Understanding ChatGPT and Its Capabilities
So, what exactly is this ChatGPT, and how could it change the accounting industry? Is it all just hype? Let’s start with the basics.
What is ChatGPT?
At its core, ChatGPT is a sophisticated AI model that can understand and respond to your questions or conversations. The possibilities are truly limitless for what you can do with this powerful tool, but the results really stem from the input you give ChatGPT. For future reference, the input that you provide is called a prompt.
ChatGPT is more than just chatting with a robot, however. The latest version of ChatGPT can visit websites, analyze spreadsheets, and even create graphics for you using ChatGPT’s DALL-E integration.
Over time, the capabilities of this AI model, which emerged from the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) program, have grown by leaps and bounds.
However complicated all of that sounds, it can all start with the simplest conversation.
The Benefits of Signing Up for ChatGPT Plus
ChatGPT has a free basic version that is available for all users. However, you can also spend $20 per month and opt in for their ChatGPT Plus subscription for additional utility.
So why spend the extra money on the ChatGPT Plus monthly subscription? There are some extra perks that the paid version comes with that make it irresistible.
- Priority Access: When you subscribe for ChatGPT Plus, you are guaranteed services 24/7. This perk becomes handy when you are in crunch time and fast need to access ChatGPT when millions of other users are using it. Without the Plus subscription, you could get locked out.
- General Performance Improvements: Remember the analysis and image generation features we mentioned above. Those are only available with GPT4, the most advanced GPT model. GPT4 is also much “smarter” than previous iterations, and can provide sharper insights.
- Extended Interaction Length: With ChatGPT Plus, you have a larger rate limit for conversations, jumping up to 40 messages every 3 hours. This allows you to get more use out of ChatGPT without needing to take breaks.
- Early Access to New Features and Updates: As a paid subscriber, you are invited to beta tests, and can be the first to access new updates and features.
- Customization and Integration: On the business and developers’ side, ChatGPT Plus gives you access to integrations that can boost your workflow with GPT, like allowing GPT to export output to PDFs.
How Can ChatGPT Help Accountants?
Simply put, ChatGPT and generative AI can have an enormous impact on accounting workflows, and many accountants are already tapped in. In fact, there has been documented evidence of AI use among big accounting firms as early as 2014.
With that said, here are some examples of how ChatGPT can work for you.
ChatGPT has the ability to filter through millions of financial data points that you upload, locating trends and outliers that might take a human hours of work to pick up on. We are not talking about data processing here, but actual actionable insights from your data.
Essentially, ChatGPT can be your co-pilot in financial and accounting analysis.
To show you what kinds of tasks you can assign to ChatGPT, we have generated some data analysis-related prompts you can check out.
Get started by prompting ChatGPT with the following:
- "Identify the key trends in the following dataset of my client’s itemized expenditures from this past year [upload dataset spreadsheet]."
- "Highlight any outliers in the quarterly sales data [upload sales data spreadsheet] and provide possible explanations for these anomalies."
You can even get really advanced and go for something like
- "My company want to ensure profit margins stay above 5% in fiscal year 2024, based on our 2023 data, what costs could we cut back on [upload data]"
Creating reports for clients can be a huge time sink, and ChatGPT can simplify this process by producing detailed reports from the your uploaded data
Some helpful prompts you could try for report generation are:
- "Generate a comprehensive financial report from the following data [insert data], focusing on profitability and liquidity ratios."
- "Create a summary of the annual financial performance based on the given income statements and balance sheets [insert data]."
- "Draft a risk assessment report based on the following financial indicators [list indicators]."
Compliance and tax laws change can year to year, so If you are trying to stay on the cutting edge of accounting, ChatGPT can help with that, too.
However, it is worth noting that ChatGPT’s knowledge base is not always current. You may have to get creative with your prompts to get the best answers. Some helpful prompts you could use for educational questions are:
- "Summarize the implications of the latest tax regulation changes on capital gains in the USA. [Upload PDF of article, or include URL]"
- "If I need [number] of CPE hours by [date], how can I earn them in the quickest fashion. Please provide specific details.”"
With the ability to analyze trends and patterns, ChatGPT can help in creating financial forecasts that come with predictions based on its expansive knowledge base trained on existing financial data.
Some helpful prompts you could use for forecasting are:
- "Predict the next quarter's sales figures based on the following historical data from the last 2 years [insert data]."
- "Analyze the market trends in the dataset [insert dataset] and forecast the upcoming financial year's main profit and loss."
- "Create a sales forecast for the next six months using the provided sales data and considering seasonal trends [insert data]."
Client or Stakeholder Communication
Ever have a client or stakeholder who asks annoying questions and struggle how to respond in a professional manner? ChatGPT can help with that.
Here are some ways ChatGPT can help you from getting a disciplinary write-up from snapping on someone.
- "My client had a question about their recent spending. They recently purchased a $35,000 Rolex on their credit card, but cannot afford it. How can I respond in a professional way as an accountant.”"
- “Draft a short professional email that explains the short term capital gains tax implications of selling our treasury-held Bitcoin after the recent dive in price. Add a nice conclusion that I explained this would be an issue when they discussed purchasing the asset initially.”
Enhancing Excel/Google Sheets/Accounting Platform Proficiency
ChatGPT is also very much knowledgeable when it comes to Excel, Google Sheets, and Quickbooks Online. Essentially, it can and will do all the heavy lifting for creating some really advanced spreadsheets.
With a few clicks and well-written prompts, ChatGPT can analyse your spreadsheet and crank out some magical formulas to seriously shorten your analysis or dashboard creation workflows.
There are limitless possibilities here, but here are a few prompts you can try out.:
- "My INDEXMATCH function is broken in this spreadsheet, can you explain what I am getting wrong? [upload document]"
- "Provide a step-by-step guide for creating a pivot table in Google Sheets that summarizes expenses by category."
- "Draft a script for a custom function in Google Sheetsthat calculates the depreciation of my client’s assets over time."
Exploring Custom GPT Solutions and the GPT Store
As we mentioned above, being a ChatGPT Plus member gets you access to all the latest features. Well, on January 10, 2024, OpenAI released the GPT Store, where you can sort through hundreds of custom GPTs engineered by OpenAI users.
Here are a couple that you might find interesting as an accountant in 2024:
- Spreadsheet Maker - this GPT can create CSV and Excel spreadsheets for you based on prompts that you give it. Definitely fun to experiment with.
- Sheets Master - this GPT is trained to be an expert on all things Google Sheets and can serve as your go to resource.
- Accounting Expert - this GPT says it is an “accounting expert,” but you can be the judge of that. Might be fun to try and stump it at your next happy hour.
Master the Art of the Prompt
When it comes to generative AI, the first thing you need to do is master the art of the prompt. You need to sharpen your prompt engineering abilities prompts to get the best output while using ChatGPT.
Prompts really are what determines whether or not what GPT spits out is helpful or boilerplate AI nonsense — the clearer and more contextualised your prompts are, the better than output will be.
There are lots of resources you can check out online to hone your skills. However, Nicolas Boucher, one of the names on our 2023 Top Accountants and Finance Professionals does a good job of educating finance professionals in leveraging AI online. You can check him out.
Integrating ChatGPT in Your Quickbooks Online Accounting Workflow
Now that you know about how you can use ChatGPT to spot check various problems you might have, let us look at how you can integrate ChatGPT into your current accounting software stack through API connectors that probably exist for Quickbooks Online.
These integrations not only enhance efficiency and accuracy but also frees up your time, allowing you to save time, and maybe clock out in time for happy hour!.
Other Ways to Automate Your Quickbooks Online Workflow
If you are serious about speeding up your workflow in Quickbooks Online, and making the most out of your third party integrations,you need to check out LiveFlow.
Our integration pull your QBO data into 100+ ready-to-use spreadsheet templates that can be totally customised and are carefully crafted to meet the demands of accountants like yourselves. All your data then automatically updates at scheduled intervals, so at the end of the day, you can spend less time on the grunt work of manually importing data to your dashboards, and more time on the important stuff.
If that sounds interesting, reach out today to book a demo and one of our team members would be happy to show you exactly how LiveFlow automates your reporting workflows in just 30 minutes.