PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot aimed at streamlining the deal-making process. The AI tool is designed to assess the viability of acquisitions swiftly. Initially, the chatbot will focus on expediting due diligence processes by summarizing and analyzing extensive client documents. Additionally, it will be trained to offer guidance to PwC's 2,500 deal-makers during transaction completion.
The introduction of the AI chatbot comes shortly after PwC announced plans to cut up to 600 jobs in its advisory team due to weakened demand for advisory services, leaving the firm overstaffed. The chatbot is seen as a means to augment the existing team and enhance productivity by allowing more time for in-depth analysis. Lucy Stapleton, UK deals leader at PwC, emphasized that the tool is intended to complement and support staff, not replace them.
Over 100 individuals in PwC's deals division are currently involved in training the AI platform by providing non-confidential information from past projects. The goal is to expand this training dataset over time. PwC aims to leverage this AI chatbot as a competitive advantage in securing new deals, with the potential to reduce deal failure by providing quick assessments of whether an acquisition meets investment criteria.
The chatbot, developed in collaboration with Harvey, a generative AI startup that received seed funding from OpenAI (the maker of ChatGPT), utilizes OpenAI's GPT-4 software. PwC is the sole member of the Big Four accounting firms to have access to this deal-focused chatbot. The firm anticipates licensing the platform to clients, including private equity firms and banks.
Winston Weinberg, co-founder of Harvey, expressed the partnership's significance, stating, "Expanding our partnership with PwC represents a significant opportunity to bring the power of AI to the M&A market." PwC has previously deployed Harvey's AI tools across its tax, legal, and human resources departments.
Despite recent job cuts in the advisory team, PwC's move into AI-driven tools for deal-making reflects a strategic effort to enhance efficiency and adapt to changes in demand within the industry. The introduction of AI technologies is seen as a means to navigate challenges and maintain a competitive edge in the evolving landscape of professional services.