Accountancy firms spent almost four-times as much implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in the past year as law firms and other professional services organisations, according to the latest research by Moore Global and the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The Moore Global study reveals mid-cap accounting and finance businesses each spent $1.6m on AI over the past year, almost four times the figure for law and professional services, which stands at $480,000, and slightly above the average in our study of $1.5m.

Only 2% of accounting and finance businesses said they saw no role for AI over the coming three years – a stark contrast to law and professional services firms, where 7% of respondents see no immediate need for the technology. Almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents in accounting and finance expect the use of AI within their organisation to grow over the next three years and beyond. This is above the average for all industries in our survey of 65% and is considerably higher than the equivalent figure for law and other professional services, which is 43%.

Moore Global CEO, Anton Colella, said: “It is clear from our latest research that accountants are light years ahead of their counterparts in the law and other professional services when it comes to cuttingedge advances in AI. It is our view that, in the very near future, AI will be looked upon in the same light as other indispensable tools like email or a smartphone. Our profession clearly agrees with us.”

Moore Global commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research to consider attitudes towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) among businesses with at least 250 employees.

The survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,858 senior decision makers in organisations in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Accountants are not concerned about the impact of AI on jobs. Only 20% of accounting and finance businesses are investing in AI specifically to reduce payroll and headcount.