Deloitte has taken a significant step in integrating generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) into its audit and accounting processes with the introduction of DARTbot, an AI-driven chatbot. As financial and accounting firms grapple with the increasing volume of data, Deloitte’s move reflects a broader trend of experimentation with emerging technologies to enhance daily workflows.
DARTbot, designed to cater to Deloitte’s 18,000 audit and accounting professionals, provides a conversational interface for tackling complex accounting questions. Instead of relying on traditional search methods and delving into accounting literature, professionals can now directly pose questions and receive human-like responses generated by the GenAI framework.
Will Bible, Digital Transformation and Innovation Leader for Audit and Assurance at Deloitte, highlighted the practical application of DARTbot. Professionals engaged in research or client interactions can seamlessly utilize the tool to navigate inquiries or aid in the audit process. This approach aims to streamline information retrieval by offering direct, context-aware responses based on specific accounting literature.
Deloitte has been at the forefront of incorporating AI into audit practices for several years. With the advent of GenAI, the firm swiftly assessed how this technology could be optimally integrated. In the case of DARTbot, GenAI was layered onto an existing accounting research tool, enabling quicker responses from a familiar knowledge library that audit professionals were already accustomed to navigating.
Before rolling out DARTbot to its extensive workforce, Deloitte conducted testing with a select group of users. This ensured the tool’s accuracy and alignment with the professionals’ experiences in the field. Crucially, the implementation involved setting structured parameters to ensure the chatbot focused solely on pertinent accounting topics.
Training employees to effectively interact with and utilize the tool is deemed essential. This emphasis on upskilling aligns with Deloitte’s broader investment in technology and learning initiatives. The firm has committed $1.4 billion to a technology learning initiative aimed at enhancing key skills, including those related to GenAI.
However, with the integration of advanced technologies, there comes a responsibility to ensure their ethical use. Chris Griffin, Managing Partner and Leader of U.S. Audit and Assurance Transformation and Technology Practice at Deloitte, emphasized the importance of transparency, explainability, and adherence to principles of responsibility, fairness, and privacy in the implementation of GenAI.
The practical application of responsible AI involves having a clear framework in place. Griffin stressed the need for planning, controls, and considerations about the development process to ensure the technology provides accurate information. Addressing concerns around security and privacy is paramount, and having a transparent trail of data sources is vital for compliance.
Deloitte’s focus on responsible AI aligns with the strategies of other Big Four firms, including Ernst & Young (EY) and KPMG. KPMG, for instance, established an AI and Digital Innovation Group dedicated to developing responsible AI tools. EY, in addition to its emphasis on ethical AI solutions, introduced an AI-driven chatbot earlier in the year for employee queries related to payroll.
While technological advancements such as GenAI are viewed as accelerators, Deloitte underscores the enduring significance of human judgment in evaluating the outputs of such technologies. Griffin emphasized that GenAI does not replace people; instead, it amplifies their capabilities. Human oversight remains crucial in assessing whether the technology’s responses align with reason and the context of the queries posed.
Deloitte’s strategic integration of GenAI through DARTbot showcases not only a commitment to technological innovation but also a thoughtful approach to ethical considerations and the continued importance of human expertise in the rapidly evolving landscape of accounting and finance.