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Futuristic business people walk through a tunnel of light

Karbon joins the rush to AI practice management


Practice management tool Karbon is the latest accounting software vendor to test the water in the artificial intelligence field, launching a tool that can draft client responses, auto-prioritise users’ inboxes and modify writing tone.

5th May 2023
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The initial version of Karbon AI is focused on making firms more efficient with email and how accountants communicate with clients.

Powered by Microsoft Azure’s OpenAI service, the first beta release of Karbon AI has shipped with the following features:

  • Inbox prioritisation: Analysing urgency, sentiment and tone, Karbon AI flags emails that need immediate attention and prioritises them above those that can wait.
An image of Karbon AI triaging emails
  • Email and internal discussion summaries: This function breaks long email chains or internal discussions down into bite-sized summaries, allowing the reader an overview before deciding to dig down into a lengthy and potentially time-consuming series of messages.
A screenshot of Karbon AI summarising an email thread
  • Draft an email: Based on keywords in previous conversations or short prompts from the user, Karbon AI can create the first draft of an email. Users can then review and amend the draft before sending it.
  • Schedule email prompts or updates: Users can set up a task within their Karbon workflow to automatically draft an email to clients at certain points, for example when documentation is needed or to update them as the job progresses. These emails are still subject to a human pressing send.
A screenshot of Karbon AI drafting an update email to a client
  • Modify writing tone: From a preset list, users can adjust the tone of their messages, making them more conversational, direct, apologetic or neutral.
A screenshot of Karbon AI adjusting the tone of an email

Just the beginning

“Artificial intelligence and GPT technology are most useful when integrated into the tools that you already work with,” said Karbon CEO Mary Delaney, commenting on the release. “When artificial intelligence is in the context of your workflow, it can be prompted by your existing data without relinquishing privacy or security. As a truly connected practice management solution, Karbon is home to more context than any other tool in an accounting firm’s workflow, and is open to vast possibilities with AI.”

Karbon chief product officer Sara Goepel added that while the initial email enhancements are an important first step, there is more planned. “Large parts of an accountant’s day are driven by email,” said Goepel. “This is just the beginning. We are continuing to develop Karbon AI and expand what it can do with data across the collaborative workflow to automate more tasks, save more time, and add more value to accounting firms and their clients.”

At present, there is no additional charge to use the Karbon AI Beta. Karbon told AccountingWEB there will be an additional cost at some point in the future, but this change will be communicated to all Karbon customers in advance.

Those looking for more details on Karbon’s AI tool can view a recording of Karbon’s Product Roadmap webinar here.

Replies (4)

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By Hugo Fair
05th May 2023 17:59

Inbox prioritisation:
- High Importance; or
- Unnecessary.

Modify writing tone:
- Confrontational; or
- Apologetic; or
- Couldn't give a stuff.

- Here's a list of actions claimed by other people in this chain (that you're too lazy to read)
- If you want to check out the veracity of these claims then that's up to you!

Thanks (3)
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
09th May 2023 14:59

I've been in touch with Thriveal founder and CPA Jason Blumer, who uses Karbon within his firm. Jason hasn't had exposure to the new functionality yet, but didn't give the impression he was about to bet his tech stack on it just yet. His regularly adds new software tools, but only after going through a structured process.

"It's a very strategic decision and one that many firms make too lightly," he said. "Adding very popular AI tools into the firm takes careful consideration, messaging to the team and clients, and the strategic management of the tool and who will champion its use."

I'm getting back to him to see if we can go into a bit more detail around potential AI deployments.

Thanks (1)
Replying to John Stokdyk:
By Hugo Fair
11th May 2023 19:00

Interesting ... as I'm sure will be any experiential feedback in due course.

In addition to endorsing the comments about not rushing strategic decisions without first taking careful consideration, I'd add that this was never more so than if now contemplating introduction of AI anywhere into the mix.

It's not the technological implications (nor even the headline grabbing instances of made-up citations etc) ... it's the difficulty (nay near impossibility) of reverse engineering your organisation's processes once they've been adapted to (and by) the 'needs' of the AI environment - should you then decide to pull back a little.

Thanks (1)
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
11th May 2023 12:28

For the sake of completeness, we've also picked up news from the Florida about Client Hub's ChatGPT-powered Magic Workflow feature. Announced in April, which puts it ahead of the Pixie CoPilot launch, Magic Workflow aims to simplify documenting and building practice workflows by setting up job templates for the use based on a simple description of what the job is.

According to the developer's website, the AI-generated processes can be tweaked to suit the user's unique requirements.

The company was founded by accountant and occasional AccountingWEB contributor Judie McCarthy. We'll be in touch with her to find out a little more.

Thanks (1)