Not a day goes by without headlines about AI, offering hope and, more often, fear relating to these powerful technology tools. AI technologies, notably ChatGPT, have taken the world by storm. Therefore, the decision facing educators is whether to embrace these powerful tools for classroom and research activities.


Although AI has existed for more than 60 years, its use has recently reached a fever pitch. One application of these tools can conduct a text-based “chat,” hence the category name AI chatbots. These bots allow for a “conversation” based on user “prompts” to answer questions, produce programming code, and draft a variety of useful responses.




Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT-3.5 have quickly progressed through many iterations since GPT-3’s initial release in June 2020. Technological advances include an ability to use a conversational tone, understand images, and decline inappropriate prompts. These advances are possible due to the rapid increase in available parameters or levers that enable the generation of responses. Other players in the space include LLaMA by Meta (Facebook), Bard by Alphabet (Google), as well as Amazon Lex and Salesforce Einstein. Predictions for 2023 estimate an investment of more than $1 trillion into the chatbot space. PwC alone plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next three years, with the hope of improving productivity and efficiency.


Based on a large language model using natural language processing, the current technology analyzes user prompts and existing words and then predicts the next word based on statistical probabilities. It can accomplish this task with astonishing speed and remarkable English grammar.


So should accountants start updating their résumés? Not quite yet. Caution is warranted when using these tools because the AI output may appear insightful when, in reality, the generated answer may be invalid (see Bill Jelen’s How Well Does ChatGPT Know Excel? for a good example). The technical term used in the industry associated with improper responses is “hallucination.” Additionally, while ChatGPT is excellent for summarizing and synthesizing many tasks, given its text-prediction process, it can’t effectively generate new knowledge (see Summary of CHATGPT/GPT-4 Research and Perspective Towards the Future of Large Language Models).


What path do we take moving forward? Students are already using AI tools. That, in and of itself, doesn’t justify the further integration of AI. But as educators, we need to be aware of AI and be ahead of the curve in understanding how to leverage emerging technologies. Our responsibility is to prepare students, as evolving professionals, to use these tools responsibly and ethically.




The use of ChatGPT and other AI in an educational setting often raises resistance because students’ use of ChatGPT can tread a fine line between questionable integrity and employing a valuable educational tool. Certain school districts and universities have expressed apprehension about students’ use of AI, leading to instances in which certain AI tools have been blocked or banned on campus. But instead of resisting these emerging tools, it’s important to consider embracing them, given their potential to augment the learning experience. This gives rise to concerns about how we can successfully shift to harnessing the power of AI tools.


Accounting education has evolved, even if sometimes begrudgingly, as innovative tools have emerged. AI in the classroom, particularly the application of ChatGPT, signals what feels like a seismic change. But this change, as with many others in history, has the potential to revolutionize the learning experience for educators and students. ChatGPT’s advanced capabilities provide opportunities for educators to enhance teaching methodologies, promote interactive learning, and foster students’ critical thinking skills.


Many educators are already using AI through its integration into textbook publishers’ homework management systems and adaptive learning tools. The effectiveness of these tools ultimately depends on the use. Publisher materials often engage students passively or indirectly, limiting their potential impact. In contrast, ChatGPT surpasses these functionalities and serves as a more direct and active collaboration tool.




AI has immense potential for student development in the accounting discipline through access to real-time interaction and feedback. When used properly, ChatGPT can enhance language, critical thinking, and writing skills. It can be leveraged to generate or refine ideas for class projects, establish an initial list of viable topics and citations for research, or serve as a valuable resource for writing the first draft of an assignment. Students can create personalized study materials, such as mnemonic phrases or songs, to improve their memory and retention beyond what adaptive learning tools provide. Note, however, that an element of learning is to recognize that the output may need revision for accuracy (see Figure 1 for an example). ChatGPT can also enable customized tutoring based on individual needs, thus facilitating a more tailored learning experience.




ChatGPT can serve as a valuable partner for educators in various ways. Think of it as an advanced graduate assistant. It can aid in idea generation and assessment, allowing educators to leverage its capabilities to create or modify course materials (see Figure 2 for an example). By integrating AI-generated imagery, educators can enhance the visual experience for students, allowing for complex accounting concepts to become more accessible.




Educators can utilize ChatGPT to prepare or modify lecture content or develop customized problem sets outside of publisher-produced materials. This enables a more tailored approach to activities, projects, and exams, thus promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Educators can also rely on the tool to:


  • Assist in providing timely and personalized feedback for writing assignments, overcoming the limitations of time and resources that typically hinder comprehensive feedback.
  • Aid in student responses and inquiries, such as drafting emails or tactfully declining unreasonable requests.
  • Write letters of recommendation, showcasing unique skills and strengths of students by connecting to their LinkedIn profiles.


Rather than viewing ChatGPT as a threat to the traditional classroom environment, educators can embrace it as a valuable resource to enrich the learning experience. Educators can unlock new opportunities for student engagement and creative problem solving by:


  • Emphasizing the significance of prompt engineering (well-structured and clear prompts) to enhance the quality of the responses generated by ChatGPT.
  • Creating crucial awareness among students about the limitations and potential biases of AI to understand the tool’s limitations. Students must critically assess and validate the responses generated by ChatGPT to improve the accuracy and reliability of its response, which can also enhance language and writing skills.
  • Rewriting questions and cases to focus on the process rather than the outcome. By incorporating open-ended and critical thinking questions, students are encouraged to analyze and evaluate accounting scenarios.
  • Rethinking assessment by having students assume the role of auditor. Provide students ChatGPT solutions to exams, which can contain roughly 54% errors, and ask them to validate (provide opinions or recommendations) the responses for their grade. This approach not only tests students’ understanding but also exposes them to real-world scenarios and AI limitations while still being mindful of grading time.
  • Including a clear statement or policy in the course syllabus regarding the appropriate use of AI-generated content. Clear guidelines can be established to educate students on the importance of prompts, AI hallucinations, biases, and proper citation and referencing. Emphasizing the importance of academic integrity and providing guidance on ethical practices can help mitigate concerns while still reaping the benefits of AI technology.


AI, particularly ChatGPT, presents myriad opportunities for both educators and students in the accounting classroom. By embracing this tool and leveraging its capabilities, educators can augment learning science and promote critical thinking, writing skills, and customized learning experiences. As we navigate the evolving educational landscape, AI stands as a powerful ally, revolutionizing the way we teach and learn accounting.




Many routine tasks are involved in creating and preparing research papers and presentations, consuming countless hours. Although these tasks often can’t be eliminated from the process, researchers should learn to leverage AI tools to facilitate a more effective and efficient process. We’ll touch on a sampling of available tools to raise awareness of options that streamline low-value-added research activities:


Research project management. Managing a research project is vital to any successful publication. Researcher.Life by Editage is a (mostly) free tool that enables project planning and organization from ideation through submission. The first step in creating a project is to identify the research stream. This tool lists relevant articles, including working papers.


An abstract can be viewed and the potential paper accessed as available through your institution. In addition, the R Discovery portion of the application includes a weekly roundup that features papers in trending topic areas, thus enabling the user to scan abstracts and determine whether a paper is relevant. Researcher.Life continues to support the project by editing drafts, helping locate a publication outlet, ensuring that the article is consistent with journal submission recommendations, and preparing summaries for a manuscript overview. Courses in research skills, mostly targeting beginning researchers or those writing for an audience in a non-native language, are also available. 


Multilingual support. ChatGPT can comprehend and produce content in more than 100 languages. This feature benefits non-native language speakers and expands access to diverse sources. Additionally, its multilingual capabilities broaden the research field and promote cross-cultural comprehension and cooperation.


Identifying relevant sources and literature review. Research success depends on developing an interesting research topic and identifying relevant and reliable sources of information. The vast amount of online information can make this process time-consuming and challenging.


Connected Papers generates a graphical display of related citations arranged based on their similarity to the target publication. This application is connected to Semantic Scholar Paper Corpus, which it uses to develop a graph. Two free graphs are allowed per month, with the option of creating an account to gain three more monthly. To create a graph, we entered the following paper citation: Laurie L. Burney, Robin R. Radtke, Sally K. Widener; “The Intersection of ‘Bad Apples,’ ‘Bad Barrels,’ and the Enabling Use of Performance Measurement Systems.” Journal of Information Systems 1 June 2017; 31 (2): 25–48.” 


Not only does Connected Papers generate an interactive graph, but it also provides the following for all included articles: the citation, full paper abstract, and links for the article for a PDF version (if free), the publisher page, Semantic Scholar page, and Google Scholar page. is a useful tool for obtaining an overview of an issue and identifying a research stream. After entering a question, such as “Does the coercive use of management controls impact employee behaviors?” provides links to online resources on topics ranging from popular press to business press to academic papers, including those in process and published.


ResearchRabbit is primarily an application that allows users to build a collection of articles for a project. It also searches for related articles, relying on the Semantic Scholar database to build an interactive visualization of relevant papers.


Summarizing and synthesizing findings. AI models such as ChatGPT are valuable resources for researchers seeking to summarize and synthesize findings. ChatGPT can generate concise and simplified summaries of research papers, making it easier for researchers to identify key findings and insights. Additionally, AI can provide thematic analyses of the existing literature, which can help researchers gain a more comprehensive understanding of the current body of knowledge in their field. Using AI models, such as ChatGPT, can help researchers save time and effort while ensuring a more thorough understanding of their research area.


Drafting manuscripts and editing. Paperpal is a more powerful writing tool than ChatGPT for academic purposes. This tool evaluates writing and provides suggestions for improvement. It’s especially useful for non-native English-speaking authors, as it helps improve writing and allows the user to write in one language and translate to another. The application is also available as an add-in to Word. Note that the first 500 suggestions are free, with a charge for additional edits.


Writefull provides useful tools for completing a manuscript. With the abstract generator, the user inserts the text of an article and Writefull generates an abstract. Additional assistance comes from a title generator, a paraphraser that provides alternative versions of a passage, and an “academizer” that converts an informal sentence into an appropriate version for an academic audience.

Formatting and citation management. Another time-consuming task is formatting citations and references (and also reformatting, many times, for submission to a new journal). Several tools are available to facilitate citation management and formatting, such as Mendeley, Zotero, EndNote, PowerNotes, and NoodleTools. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses; thus, investigation is key before making a final choice.


Microsoft Word includes a function to allow the author to build a source list on the References tab. Once the source is input, the author can insert a citation as the manuscript is written. The format of this citation can be changed to fit journal style requirements. This tool also creates a reference list.


Note, that while Word provides an option of including all references vs. works cited, at this time the works cited still includes all sources. A simple work-around is available: When viewing the listed papers under Manage Sources, a small check mark appears by sources that are cited in the current manuscript. Upon completion of the manuscript, a works cited list can be generated by deleting the sources that don’t have a check mark (i.e., cited in the manuscript), creating a cited papers reference list. 


Presentations. Designing powerful and consistently themed presentations is another time-consuming task. Its importance can’t be overstated given the value presentations have in communicating our research and developing our reputation. PowerPoint currently includes a feature to assist in the design of slides, but this is an ideal space for AI to step it up a notch. Many AI presentation tools are available, such as,, Presentations.AI, Venngage, and Mind the Graph.


These tools have templates that often include basic graphs, illustrations, presentation slides, infographics, and posters. Some vendors even allow live polling. Along with these templates, AI tools assist in improving the organization and quality of the presentation, often with tools to integrate directly into PowerPoint and other presentation software. Although many allow free trials, most require a subscription beyond the basic trial. 


Sometimes, a basic approach is sufficient instead of paying for all the bells and whistles. Word’s web-based version currently provides a feature to export text to PowerPoint. AI will add a theme, design, imagery, icons, etc., providing a variety of options. We tested this with a manuscript. While the conversion doesn’t result in a final polished presentation, it effectively and quickly converts the main text into PowerPoint. That alone saves significant time, with time further saved with the PowerPoint design.


This feature is part of Microsoft’s initiative to integrate GitHub’s AI tool, Copilot, into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. As with other products, Microsoft products’ ability to be leveraged for efficiency and effectiveness will continue to grow.



There should be caution when relying on AI-generated content. For instance, a query for ChatGPT regarding the history of management accounting may appear to provide valid references, but this may not be the case.


Misinformation and biases. A close look at the generated history of management accounting shows that the narrative contained inaccuracies, such as “The work of Robert Anthony and his colleagues at Harvard Business School was particularly influential during this period,” in the context of discussing the contributions of activity-based costing and the balanced scorecard. While the attribution to Harvard is correct, it was actually Robert Kaplan who contributed these management initiatives instead of Robert Anthony, who was a pioneer of management accounting and who retired in 1982, prior to these innovations. 


Overreliance on AI-generated content. While AI models offer significant benefits, overreliance on generated content can inhibit critical thinking and creativity. Educators and researchers should use AI-generated content as a supplement rather than a replacement for their expertise and judgment.


Plagiarism and academic integrity. AI-generated content raises concerns regarding plagiarism and academic integrity. Users must be vigilant in ensuring that AI-generated content doesn’t compromise the originality of their work and adheres to ethical standards.


Various AI tools have been developed that purport to detect AI-generated content. We first tested GPTZero. We input two paragraphs generated by ChatGPT-3.5, as referenced earlier about “Robert Anthony.” The tool identified these paragraphs as likely entirely written by AI. One sentence in particular influenced this conclusion: “Your sentence with the highest perplexity, ‘This led to the development of new techniques and tools for management accounting, such as activity-based costing, balanced scorecards, and enterprise resource planning systems.’ has a perplexity of: 65.” But editing these complex and wordy sentences may prevent the detection of AI drafts.


We also entered a ChatGPT initial draft of this article’s background from ChatGPT-3.5 and GPT-4. The result, as shown below, was that the text was likely entirely written by a human, and no sentences were identified as likely AI-generated. Thus, as expected, passages generated by GPT-4 versions are less likely to be detected.




Other detection tools produced similar results. GPTKit was unable to detect that the text was generated by AI, producing the following: 




Finally, Writefull’s GPT Detector indicated that a portion of the text was likely generated by AI but only estimated that probability at 12%.


Privacy and data security concerns. AI models often access sensitive data, raising concerns regarding privacy and data security. Users must ensure that their personal identifiable information and other private data are protected and that AI models comply with relevant data protection regulations.




In summary, integrating AI tools into the accounting classroom and research has the potential to revolutionize the way accounting is taught, practiced, and researched. By embracing AI technologies responsibly, educators can equip students and professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the evolving landscape of accounting and contribute to its continued growth and innovation.

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