What to look for in a trusted AI assistant

It’s a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. Professionals and organizations in the legal, tax, and risk fields need to evolve to address numerous new challenges and opportunities. 

The biggest source of that complexity is the overwhelming quantity of digital data organizations need to sort through for crucial information. Professionals have begun to explore how generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) can help. The emergence of AI assistants represents a particularly promising application. 

What is an AI assistant? 

An AI assistant is a digital tool that uses generative AI to handle essential but time-consuming tasks so that professionals can focus on more profitable uses of their time. You’re likely familiar with the various virtual-assistant technologies that companies have developed and commercialized. 

AI assistants are professional tools. They can sort through data at high speed, uncovering beneficial information that can take humans hours to find. In other words, these digital tools can make organizations of all kinds more efficient and productive. However, the AI-assistant sector is young, and choosing the wrong one could work against achieving those objectives. As a professional, how do you choose the right tool for your organization? 

How AI is impacting traditional work

First, a bit of reassurance: for many people, the term “AI” conjures up dystopian images of high-powered robots rendering human CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals redundant. The reality is not like that. Professions have always made productive use of new technologies, and artificial intelligence is very much a part of that tradition. That said, the changes GenAI will bring are likely to be profound. 

Last August, Thomson Reuters released its Future of professionals report, which examines how AI is and will be changing the ways legal, tax and accounting, and risk and fraud professionals work. Two-thirds of the professionals surveyed for the report believe AI will have a transformational or high impact on their field. The report also reveals that AI will likely redefine how professionals provide advice and guidance to their organizations and clients, perhaps even significantly changing their business models. 

AI assistants certainly won’t do away with human expertise. What they can do is relieve professionals from mundane tasks and allow them to focus on work that requires their distinctive knowledge and experience. Given the accelerating speed of change, you need information to help you make more informed decisions and position your team for a successful future by revealing hidden risks and opportunities. Those risks include new regulations that your organization needs to comply with, not to mention possible fraudulent activity from customers or vendors. 

Other repetitive activities many professionals must handle include:

  • Data entry
  • Invoice processing
  • Reviewing financial data

Not only are these workflows tedious, they’re also prone to human error. An AI assistant can automate these processes, making them more efficient and accurate. It also can help provide valuable insights into potential risks and opportunities by analyzing historical data and market trends. 

Since it is basically a software program — though one designed to “learn” and become even more effective over time — an AI assistant is intended to be ambient. It operates behind the scenes, so to speak, handling its tasks without drawing attention to itself. It should interact seamlessly with you, your team, and your IT network, taking on grunt work that would take up hours of human time and completing it in seconds. 

But an AI assistant won’t be helpful if it doesn’t work the way you need it to. 

What to look for in an AI assistant

Given the very recent arrival of AI assistant tools, professionals of all kinds will need to perform rigorous due diligence in evaluating this technology. The following are some key considerations to consider as you examine your options. 

Will it access and provide reliable information?  

You should feel confident about the accuracy of the information an AI assistant provides. For instance, it should access reliable sources like fact-checked libraries rather than gleaning potentially false — or at least incomplete — answers and insights from unreliable content. 

Does the developer understand your industry? 

The company marketing its AI-assistant technology should be able to prove that it has expertise in your professional field. It should demonstrate a deep knowledge of the challenges, regulations, and ethical concerns your type of organization needs to address. For instance, if you’re an attorney, you should determine whether the developer understands the legal profession’s ongoing issues. 

Can it be integrated into your digital toolbox?

Technology is most effective when it can play well with other tech. Is the AI assistant you’re considering able to interconnect with Microsoft 365, database management tools, and other platforms you use in your work? 

How experienced is the vendor’s AI talent?

Does the company offering the assistant have a reassuringly extensive track record with AI development? Can it demonstrate an ability to continuously update and innovate as new challenges and needs arise? How well does the company’s technology ensure data privacy? As the Thomson Reuters report notes, many professionals worry that AI could open the door to new, sophisticated forms of fraud. 

Does it have the capabilities you need? 

Sorting through massive datasets for crucial information is an essential capability. But there are likely to be others you also need — for instance, performing trustworthy research that can help you build your organization’s success. 

Choosing an AI assistant

When looking for a trusted AI assistant, you’ll need to choose one that understands the work you do as a professional and can help you clarify the complex. Legal, tax and accounting, and risk and fraud professionals need an AI assistant that can help them in their everyday work. Let us show you CoCounsel from Thomson Reuters.

A GenAI assistant, CoCounsel can perform sophisticated research and analyze dense, voluminous information — and then deliver reliable, accurate, and thorough answers as quickly as you need them.

We currently offer CoCounsel within our legal solutions, including Westlaw Precision and Practical Law Dynamic. Later this year, it will be available for incorporation into Checkpoint Edge and widely used third-party programs such as Microsoft 365 and various database management solutions. We will also be integrating CoCounsel into our existing and new products across all the professions we serve. Learn more about CoCounsel and its capabilities.

With AI rapidly transforming the legal, tax and accounting, and risk and fraud professions, you can prepare for future complexities by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter that delivers the latest insights on generative AI. As the industry-leading technology company for decision makers faced with an increasingly complex world, we are helping you chart a clear path to an exciting future. We’re empowering you to see further and provide more clarity to the organizations you serve at every turning point. 

We’ll continue innovating so that you can know today and navigate tomorrow. 

CoCounsel: The GenAI for professionals

Benefit from the only generative AI assistant built on 150 years of authoritative content