ChatGPT, the generative AI tool created by OpenAI, has received a great deal of buzz since its launch last year. It uses a large language model to produce original text after a user has entered a specific prompt. Thus far, it has shown to be an incredibly powerful tool that serves a nearly endless variety of use cases. For example, the platform can be used to create blog posts, emails, uncover errors and summarize key information.
What is a ChatGPT prompt?
The answer is that it’s simply instructional text that tells the AI what to produce. It doesn’t need to include fancy or technical language, but there is an art to creating the perfect prompt. In this post, we’ll go through five areas of your accounting business that may benefit from using ChatGPT and some of the most effective ChatGPT prompts from around the web to use in each category.
Data analysis and reporting
ChatGPT can do more than create text; it can also analyze numeric inputs. That means accountants can use it to perform critical tasks like making predictions, detecting trends and summarizing financial data.
Below are some prompts to try to have ChatGPT help you analyze income and financial data:
- Identify key trends and areas of improvement based on the provided income statement.
- Based on the historical sales data, forecast the sales growth for the next quarter.
- Analyze the following financial data and provide insights into the company’s performance.
- Analyze the provided sales data and calculate the quarterly growth rate.
- Based on current market trends, predict the possible financial outcomes for an investment of $10,000 in the tech sector for the next five years.
Many of the prompts listed above may require you to provide data for the AI technology to provide accurate results.
Client communications and advice
Client outreach is a vital part of building and keeping your customers. In today’s tight economic market, a personal touch can go a long way. With ChatGPT, drafting emails with advice and news items relevant to clients’ businesses becomes much easier and faster. You can also use ChatGPT to create templated responses to routine communications, like responses to common inquiries.
Here are some prompts that can help you get started:
- Write an email to a client explaining the tax implications of their new business venture.
- Draft a professional response to a client’s inquiry about our auditing process.
- Create a monthly financial summary email for a small business client, highlighting their income, expenses, and net profit.
- Generate a polite response to a client upset about a miscalculation in their tax returns.
- Compose an email to a client explaining the impact of a new tax regulation on their business.
Posting regular content to a blog or web page is a great way to get more eyes on your business. You can create downloadable assets like e-books and whitepapers to help generate leads for your accounting services. The following prompts can be used to develop first drafts of these types of content:
- Generate a list of best practices for managing cash flow in a small business.
- Explain the key financial metrics a startup should focus on for their business.
- Explain the concept of accrual accounting in layman’s terms.
- Generate a list of internal controls that can be implemented to prevent fraud and errors in accounting.
- Provide an overview of the latest trends in financial technology (fintech) and their implications for the accounting profession.
Auditing and error detection
Spotting mistakes in your work is notoriously hard. In the accounting and finance fields, a single typo or misplaced zero can have significant adverse effects. Luckily, ChatGPT can detect errors, discrepancies and incorrect applications of standard accounting principles, as well as audit specific financial documents. The following prompts are particularly handy:
- Review the attached financial statement and provide a detailed audit report.
- Analyze the provided audit report and identify any potential issues or inconsistencies.
- Review the following financial data and identify any potential errors or discrepancies.
- Identify any discrepancies or errors in this balance sheet.
- Analyze the provided ledger and highlight transactions that don’t align with standard accounting practices.
Summarizing accounting information
Current accounting and tax law changes can be complex, even for seasoned professionals. ChatGPT can summarize these updates for your quick reference and to explain these more technical concepts to clients. Below are some prompts that might be useful:
- Summarize the key takeaways from the latest FASB update on lease accounting.
- Generate a list of California’s latest accounting laws and regulations for the fiscal year 2023.
- Explain the role of blockchain technology in the future of accounting and auditing.
- Describe the inventory valuation process using FIFO, LIFO and weighted average methods.
Use ChatGPT to your advantage
While AI tools like ChatGPT might seem intimidating, a bit of practice, plus some of the best ChatGPT prompts for accountants and finance professionals, will get you to leverage these tools with ease. If you’re looking for more prompts to try, a quick online search will produce a ChatGPT prompt guide for just about every need. If you’re looking to hone your accounting skills even further, be sure to check out our many CPE courses, as well as our guide to starting and growing your own tax business.