August 22, 2023
Thomson Reuters Future of Professionals Report Predicts AI will Have a Transformational Impact on Professional Work by 2028
- Optimism for productivity: 45% of professionals pin their biggest AI aspirations on improved productivity, expecting benefits for their talent, customers, and environment.
- A new value exchange: “Producing high-quality advice” tops the list of important motivators across all industries, with AI leading professionals into a new era of what it means to be an advisor.
- Responsible AI: Developing responsible technology is not just an industry issue, but a societal imperative. Professionals stated some concerns with AI were around accuracy (25%), data security (15%), and ethics (15%).
TORONTO, August 22, 2023 – Thomson Reuters (NYSE/TSX: TRI), a global content and technology company, today released its Future of Professionals Report. The survey of more than 1,200 individuals working internationally shares the predicted impact that generative AI will have on the future of professional work. The survey showed 67% of respondents believe AI will have a transformational or high impact on their profession in the next five years. What’s more, over half of the survey respondents (66%) predict AI will create new professional career paths, while 68% expect roles that do not require traditional legal or tax qualifications to increase over the next five years.
“We are at a unique moment where we have the opportunity to realize the benefits of human intelligence, thinking and collaboration differently, while using the potential of AI to overcome some of professionals biggest pain points,” said Steve Hasker, president and CEO, Thomson Reuters. “Through the application of AI to perform more mundane tasks, professionals have the unique opportunity to address human capital issues such as job satisfaction, well-being, and work-life balance. This will in turn unlock time for professionals to focus on complex work that adds value to their client’s needs.”
Amid the changing nature of professional work, organizations across industries are continuing to adopt AI into their everyday workflows. Most respondents shared optimism around the power of AI, with 45% pinning their biggest AI aspirations on improved productivity, internal efficiency, and client services, specifically as it relates to operations converging with their talent, customers, and environment.
Additionally, 67% of respondents indicated their biggest personal motivator was “producing high-quality advice.” To continue this work in the era of generative AI, professionals need to reconsider and redefine what it means to be an advisor and evolve business models to prepare and service customers for tomorrow – not just today.
More than a quarter (28%) of professionals say work negatively impacts their mental health and wellbeing. Long working hours and fear of making errors are the top two factors driving these perceptions. AI has the power to relieve some of this burden by reducing the time it takes to get the accurate and contextualized information needed to solve a problem, reducing the risk of errors, and automating mundane tasks.
Understandably, professionals are cautious; specifically, the biggest concerns include a compromise of accuracy (25%), job loss (19%), demise of the profession altogether (17%), data security (15%), and ethics (15%). Building AI that solves customers’ biggest pain points in a transparent and responsible way while providing trusted results will help instil confidence and alleviate fears.
Key industry findings from the report:
Tax and Accounting Professionals:
- Freeing up time to deliver more value: Productivity is the highest priority for tax and accounting firms (59%), while internal efficiency (75%) tops the list in corporate tax and accounting departments.
- Intelligent advisory: “Producing high-quality advice” tops the list of motivators for most professionals (67%). In tax, growing an advisory practice is a route for firms to differentiate and illuminate the expertise of staff.
- Bridging the talent gap in tax: Professionals predict new career paths will become available (66%), including increases in roles that do not require traditional tax qualifications (68%), over the next five years. In tax, more enrolled agent (EA) professionals may be able to do personal tax returns.
- Catalyst for growth: Improved productivity and efficiency are seen as the biggest positive effects of AI (75% and 67%, respectively) for law firm professionals. Additionally, law firms see AI as an opportunity for increased revenue as more than half (55%) of legal professionals predicted that lower costs for firms, resulting from AI use, will lead to greater firm profitability. Also, 81% of legal respondents expect new services to emerge within the next five years, creating new revenue sources.
- New skills and career paths: 58% of respondents anticipate seeing a rise in their professional skills, while more than two-thirds of legal professionals see a more consultative approach to advice. As skills will be highly prized, new career paths are likely to emerge, and 81% see a rise in the use of alternative legal service providers (ALSPs).
- Areas of need and concern: According to respondents, the profession needs to address a lack of technology skills as well as a lack of investment in technology. As for areas of concern, the top issue is accuracy (30%).
- AI and Talent: Talent issues tend to be a higher priority for government professionals than for their corporate counterparts, and they tend to feel more optimism that AI can help in some of these areas. Training, recruitment, wellbeing, and engagement were all more common organizational priorities among government professionals.
- Slower adoption: Overall, government professionals tend to think that AI adoption will be slower than in corporations, due to data security fears and general resistance to change and will therefore have less impact.
To access the full report, visit https://thomsonreuters.com/en/campaigns/future-of-professionals.html
Research was conducted during the months of May and June 2023 via an online survey. More than 1,200 professionals from the legal, tax and accounting, and risk professions employed by corporations, firms, and government agencies completed the survey. About half of the participants were based in the United States, with most of the remaining half from the UK, Canada, and Latin America.
Most of the respondents were in traditional roles, meaning that those in the legal industry were lawyers, those in the tax and accounting industry were accountants and CPAs, and a small minority performed roles in operations and technology. In addition, the majority of respondents represented Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964), followed by Gen X (1965-1980), and Millennial (1981-1996) generations. A handful of respondents were Gen Z (1997-2012) or Silent Generation (born prior to 1946).
Thomson Reuters (NYSE/TSX: TRI) (“TR”) informs the way forward by bringing together the trusted content and technology that people and organizations need to make the right decisions. The company serves professionals across legal, tax, accounting, compliance, government, and media. Its products combine highly specialized software and insights to empower professionals with the data, intelligence, and solutions needed to make informed decisions, and to help institutions in their pursuit of justice, truth, and transparency. Reuters, part of Thomson Reuters, is a world-leading provider of trusted journalism and news. For more information, visit tr.com.
Note to Editor: AI Product Updates
Thomson Reuters has used AI and machine learning in its professional information products for 30 years, leveraging its unique, authoritative proprietary content and technology. Thomson Reuters was among the earliest commercial applications for natural language processing search. Since then, Thomson Reuters has leveraged increasingly sophisticated AI and machine-learning capabilities to improve search and expand analytics through a series of product advances, including WestlawNext, Westlaw Edge, Practical Law Dynamic Tool Set, and most recently, Westlaw Precision.
Thomson Reuters recently shared its commitment to invest more than $100 million annually to integrate AI into its flagship content and technology solutions. In addition, Thomson Reuters shared plans to develop a plugin with Microsoft 365 Copilot, with the two companies collaborating on a legal drafting solution that leverages Westlaw, Practical Law, and Document Intelligence.
- Thomson Reuters announced on Aug. 17 that it closed on its previously announced acquisition of Casetext, a provider of technology for legal professionals, for a purchase price of $650 million in cash. Founded in 2013, Casetext harnesses GPT-4 and uses advanced AI and machine learning to build technology for legal professionals, creating solutions that help them work more efficiently and provide higher-quality representation to more clients.
- SurePrep was acquired in early 2023 and brought AI-driven automated document ingestion capabilities that provide meaningful workflow automation benefits to tax customers .
- ThoughtTrace was purchased in 2022, bringing leading AI contract analysis capabilities that power legal document intelligence offerings.
- In 2022, Thomson Reuters acquired PLX AI to support the delivery of fast and reliable breaking financial news and insights.
- Thomson Reuters Ventures is a financially driven, Series-A-focused fund that has recently invested in:
- Spellbook, a legal software company offering a generative AI contract drafting tool
- ZERO, which provides solutions to augment cognitive processes using skilled AI modules (SAMs) to work alongside human workers, offering automation, insights, and proactive assistance using large language models and generative AI
- Ledgible, a crypto tax and information reporting software built for CPAs, tax professionals, and institutions that allows users to determine tax positions and gain direct visibility to on-chain data
- Thomson Reuters recently announced a new plugin with Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft’s advanced AI experience across its productivity suite. This integration will bolster efforts for redefined professional work starting with legal research, drafting, and client collaboration.
- Working with Microsoft, Thomson Reuters is developing an intelligent drafting solution, powered by its legal products and content, and Copilot for Word. Delivering users with a draft working document and access to trusted content right where work happens – in Microsoft Word Professionals can use their expertise to edit, validate, and build the final document with integrated access to Thomson Reuters knowledge, content, and AI technology.
- The integration of Thomson Reuters deep content into Microsoft 365 Copilot will help professionals unlock the potential of generative AI with legal content from Thomson Reuters products easily surfaced within MS word for faster initial drafting, ready for finalizing by the experts.