Technology is rapidly evolving and many industries like the accountancy industry are embracing the advantages it has to offer. Microsoft has finally introduced their ground-breaking AI tool namely Microsoft 365 CoPilot, designed to transform workplaces worldwide.
Powered by large language models and natural language processing, CoPilot leverages data from Microsoft 365 applications to generate a range of actions tailored to your needs. Acting as a collaborator rather than a job replacement, CoPilot provides you with AI generated suggestions, edits and even drafts based on the prompts you provide. Many accounting firms that are getting up to speed with adopting new technologies are interested in when CoPilot will be available to them, but the question still stands; is your organisation ready for Microsoft’s next generation AI, CoPilot?
Building a mature IT framework
To fully understand and optimise CoPilot, you first need to measure the maturity of your IT systems as a whole. Going back to basics should encourage businesses to assess their overall IT strategy and infrastructure, and prompt you to ask important questions such as: is there a well-defined and stable business strategy that aligns well with technology? Are our IT systems keeping pace with the rapid rate of change in the industry? Are we fully utilising cloud-based resources and applications available to us? By addressing these questions at the first step, you will be able to identify the areas that require improvement to advance your framework and ultimately lead you on the path to adopting AI.
The first and most important step in measuring the maturity of your business is what we call good foundations. For your practice to foundations and advanced AI powered tools like CoPilot, you need to maintain solid IT foundations, and be fully cloud based. Many accounting firms still use legacy hardware, which can no longer be updated and is difficult to maintain and replace, posing a major security risk to the business. Accounting firms that adopt the cloud, will automatically have a competitive advantage over those that do not, as it is secure, cost-saving, scalable, and more collaborative for employees.
Some accounting firms are still in a position where all staff do not use the same work devices. Some are on desktops; others use laptops, and a few may still keep paper records. Not only does this pose a serious security risk, but it makes it more difficult adopt new and advanced technologies. Having all your staff use laptops will help you set a good and solid foundation, to be able to keep up with the pace of change, and give them the opportunity to be collaborative and efficient. That is why having good foundations is a fundamental part of business growth.
Where Microsoft 365 meets AI
CoPilot is set out to change the entire workplace by bringing amazing changes to Microsoft 365 and core applications like Outlook and Excel. Through the power of advanced language models and natural language processing, CoPilot becomes your personal AI assistant, enabling you to accomplish tasks seamlessly. In Outlook, CoPilot can help you triage your inbox, making you aware of the most urgent emails and tasks that you need to action. You can also create prompts asking Copilot to complete specific actions. For example, you can ask CoPilot to write an email to a specific client about submitting their tax return data, and it will generate a draft, which you can then keep, edit, or discard , allowing you to still be in full control.
In Excel, Copilot can analyse complex data in spreadsheets, locate trends, and give you a step-by-step breakdown on how to create a graph from the data provided. Not only can Copilot be an AI assistant, but it can be a teacher. Many people only use 10% of what Microsoft applications have to offer but Copilot unlocks the other 90%, allowing you to fully optimise the full power of these applications.
Transform the Microsoft 365 experience
Microsoft’s CoPilot can only work successfully with organisations that are fully in the cloud and have mature IT systems. It’s imperative to take a proactive approach if you want to capitalise on CoPilot, to improve efficiencies within your practice and get your people working in a smarter, and more collaborative way.
Talk to us today about measuring the maturity of your business and how to scale up to prepare for Copilot.