KPMG’s UK firm is to partner with a North American software company to develop a suite of tax analysis tools for the UK market that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to support decision-making on complex tax issues.
Blue J specialises in predictive analysis tools for tax lawyers and accountants in North America. KPMG will be its first alliance partner in Europe and says the tool will accelerate the firm’s technical analysis to improve the speed and accuracy of the advice offered to clients.
Stuart Tait, Partner, Chief Technology Officer – Tax & Legal, at KPMG UK, says the Blue J tool is currently available to all 2,500 of the UK firm’s Tax & Legal professionals. “The Blue J technology is helping us to navigate complicated legislation and case law, which dramatically reduces the time it takes to research technical positions and will help with the huge caseload.
“Use of AI will allow them to predict tax scenario outcomes with better than 90% accuracy and four times faster than traditional research methods such as keyword and Boolean searches. We hope that by freeing up the time of our employees, we’ll have more resource to dedicate to partnering with our clients on their most business-critical issues,” Tait adds.
KPMG is hoping that using AI to help organisations navigate the increasing pace of legislative change will prove an irresistible proposition, alongside the ability for clients to easily evidence good tax practice and provide documentary evidence of the tax analysis. It will be working with Blue J to develop additional UK-specific content over the next 12 months.
At the same time, plans are also afoot for the Blue J technology to be used to help train junior staff members. KPMG admits that with hybrid working now mainstream, innovative approaches are needed to help junior colleagues compensate for reduced direct access to senior people for coaching.
“We hope that it’ll improve the training of our more junior staff,” says Tait. “With flexible working becoming the norm, the tool will be able to guide more junior colleagues through tricky cases and educate them on tax research, so they get the support they need to quickly progress in their career and give more informed advice to our clients.”
In the long term, technology underpinned by AI could radically change how professional services are delivered, Tait says, with Blue J allowing KPMG to provide a higher degree of transparency around the work that it does.
“We believe that the future of tax is grounded in technology and that we need to use innovative tools to augment the skills of the tax professional. Because the Blue J tool will free up more of our employees’ time to dedicate to more complicated client issues, clients will have increased access to consultancy resource, meaning that we can offer far better value for money than our competitors,” says Tait.
Benjamin Alarie, CEO of Blue J, says: “This decade will see incredible growth in the sophistication of analysis tools that use AI to enable professionals to deliver superior results for their clients, in a far more efficient manner than previously possible. KPMG is at the forefront of this trend, and we’re excited to be building this solution with them.”
David Lyford-Tilley, Technical Manager at ICAEW, says: “AI is a bit of a buzzword, so it’s nice to see some practical application for it in the world of accountancy. This is unlikely to be the kind of technology that’ll be accessible to most smaller accountancy firms for some time, but it gives a taste of the direction of travel.” Lyford-Tilley says it is likely that other big firms might look to follow suit with similar technology partnerships to bolster their tax offerings.
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