2024 generative AI in professional services

Perceptions, usage, and impact on the future of work

Generative AI (GenAI), once a futuristic concept, is here and reshaping the professional landscape across service industries like legal, tax and accounting, risk and fraud, and government. Since its debut in late 2022, platforms like ChatGPT and advancements like GPT-4 have demonstrated disruptive potential, enabling the rapid creation of high-quality content with heightened accuracy. While adoption isn't yet widespread, more than half of professionals believe they should use GenAI in their daily work — and they’re already planning for the specialized tools that will create this reality.

In this report, we explore how these professionals perceive the use of generative AI in their workplace, how and to what level they are using and integrating it into their processes, and perceptions of the future of work in an environment in which generative AI has made its presence felt.

Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is no longer the technology of the future. The process of integrating GenAI systems into daily work — and figuring out what that means for the future of professional work — has begun. Professionals in service industries such as legal, tax & accounting, risk & fraud, and government have long adapted to new ways of working, particularly in recent years with the introduction of new technologies.

Upon ChatGPT’s initial public release in late-2022, however, GenAI and related technologies have promised a more disruptive potential. These technologies offer the opportunity to create entirely new content, in plain language or easy-to-understand images, in a way that mirrors the output a human could create in a fraction of the time. New generations of these technologies such as GPT-4 offer even more potential with greater accuracy and the ability to understand complex and nuanced tasks. According to our research, leaders in these industries have begun to respond in kind. While GenAI usage is not widespread among professional services, about one-quarter of professionals say their organizations have already begun to update how they work by incorporating GenAI.

This could be one-off usage of public platforms such as ChatGPT, but increasingly, this also includes tools built specifically for industry use cases — such as legal research or drafting tools, spotting accounting irregularities and tax return preparation, or risk assessment and reporting platforms. Many more organizations are still in the consideration phase, watching and waiting for the right time to enter the GenAI market. That time could be coming soon. The dominant sentiment surrounding GenAI remains hesitance, but that is quickly followed by optimism and excitement, our research reveals. While there remains a lot of respondents who say they do not yet know about these tools, they continue to see enough to believe they can and should be used for work in their respective industries.

Professionals have also begun parsing the differences between different GenAI platforms and how they can be applied to different use cases in their industry. In this report, we delve into how these professionals perceive the use of GenAI in their workplace, and how and to what level they are using it and integrate it into their processes. We also examine what they see as the impact that GenAI will have on a wide range of work attributes, such as efficiency, billing, and job loss. Finally, we examine what they see as the future of work in an environment in which GenAI has made its presence felt. As the technology continues to become more prominent in the public eye, it’s evident that the age of GenAI is upon us, and many professional services firms have proved not only willing, but ready to advance alongside the technology.

In conclusion, the rise of generative AI (GenAI) in professional services is reshaping the way work is done across various industries. Professionals are beginning to integrate GenAI into their daily processes, with some already adopting specialized tools for tasks like legal research, accounting, and risk assessment. While there is still some hesitance, optimism and excitement surround the potential of GenAI to improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace. As professionals continue to explore and utilize GenAI, the future of work in an environment where GenAI is prevalent looks promising, with many firms embracing the technology to advance alongside it.

The Full Report from Thomson Reuters

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