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PwC adopts AI co-pilot for tax support

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 15 Mar 2024

AI assistant will provide support to more than 2,000 PwC employees in the UK, with further potential to plug directly into clients’ tax functions.

PwC has trained an AI co-pilot, or ‘assist’, on a foundation of the firm’s proprietary UK tax expertise, to provide constant updates on the tax system as part of PwC’s ongoing client work. The firm aims to use this generative AI tool to enhance the quality and transparency of the firm’s insights.

PwC explains that the assistant is able to cross-reference an internal knowledge bank of data on the UK tax system, including case law, legislation and the firm’s own intellectual property. That data is regularly refreshed to log changes and updates to tax rules in real time.

PwC says the bespoke software model at the heart of the assistant generates “significantly higher quality and accuracy” in the UK tax domain compared to the off-the-peg large language models (LLMs) available to the general public. By providing tax professionals with detailed references to its dataset, the tool enables them to carry out transparent and accurate validation.

PwC has created the assistant in partnership with OpenAI, developer of landmark platform ChatGPT, and tech startup Harvey, which specialises in building AI solutions for the legal sector. The tool is part of a wider strategy in which the firm aims to play a leading role, urging the professional services market to adopt cutting-edge technologies. The strategy seeks to ensure that PwC’s clients and employees will benefit from the changing environment in which they work.

In line with its responsible AI framework, PwC is also working with clients to explore how their tax functions could plug directly into the tool to unlock the power of AI for their own benefit.

Prime example

PwC’s assistant follows Deloitte’s move last year to launch its own tailored co-pilot called PairD, based on OpenAI’s LLM. PairD is currently being rolled out across Deloitte’s European workforce, with plans to eventually expand it to member firms in the Middle East.

Reflecting on the assistant’s launch, PwC UK Tax, Legal and Workforce Leader Laura Hinton says: “Generative AI is transformative and presents unprecedented possibilities for both our people and our clients. Working with Harvey and OpenAI, we will be able to offer the most sophisticated tax AI enabled services and model in the market and further differentiate what we do, driving growth for our business, our clients and our people.”

Hinton says that the firm’s approach will always be human led. “Tech power and AI will complement our expertise,” she explains, “allowing our subject matter experts to deliver deeper, more robust and transparent insights to our clients.”

OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap cites a surge in the number of practical AI applications being built on the platform. PwC’s assistant, he says, “is a prime example of AI’s power to supercharge the capabilities of knowledge workers and enhance the customer experience. We’re excited to continue partnering to help organisations across all industries thrive in an AI-first world.”

Meanwhile, Harvey co-founder and CEO Winston Weinberg says: “We have created a unique AI asset that combines deep tax knowledge with natural language processing and generation capabilities. This is a prime example of how AI can augment human expertise and transform the way professional services are delivered.”


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