Technically HR: KPMG and Microsoft partner to develop new AI tools for employees and clients

Some execs expect the $2 billion investment to reshape the professional services industry.
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Frank Scialabba

· 3 min read

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Things can be easier with a partner, and for KPMG, investing in a partnership with Microsoft might be the move that upends how professional services use generative AI and other technology. At least, that’s the bet.

KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting and professional services firms, announced a new partnership with Microsoft to develop a suite of new generative AI and cloud tools to transform how its employees and clients do business.

The company plans to invest $2 billion over the next five years alongside Microsoft, according to media reports. KPMG CEO Paul Knopp told Bloomberg Technology he expects a return of $12 billion in the coming years.

KPMG was an early user of AI-enabled Microsoft 365 Copilot and Azure OpenAI Service. The move will allow the companies to pilot new tools and tech.

Plans for the new partnership include embedding machine learning models, natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, and AI analytics into more tools and solutions that KPMG provides to clients, housed in a secure cloud, not an open-source setting like ChatGPT.

As the nascent technology precipitously makes its way into corporate America, adopting generative AI has excited many execs, but their employees may be more fearful. Knopp isn’t worried that the commitment will displace workers.

“I think this is the greatest technology disruption in many decades; I haven’t seen one yet that’s caused a loss of workforce on a gross basis on a net basis. So, I actually believe that workforces over time will grow with generative AI,” Knopp said when asked about how the partnership may affect KPMG’s 265,000 employees worldwide.

Knopp said the firm will need humans to codevelop solutions for clients and sees an uptick in data scientists and employees interpreting the work of generative AI applications.

The AI tools KPMG will create with Microsoft would replace “those mundane routine tasks that people don’t enjoy doing,” allowing the company to upskill employees performing those tasks, he said.

Zoom out. The adoption of generative AI could generate up to $4.4 trillion annually, according to a new McKinsey report, and dramatically change what work is done by humans between 2030 and 2060. The tools will also boost productivity, and workers who perform duties replaced by the technology will need help learning new skills to participate in an AI economy, according to the report.

“AI, like many technological innovations and advancements, will improve efficiency and potentially replace workers…However, I expect that in tandem, workers’ skills will adapt and change in order to open up new opportunities that didn’t exist before,” Dave Wilkin, co-founder and CEO of talent experience platform 10KC, told SHRM earlier this year.

Millions of jobs may be affected by AI’s incorporation into workflows. HR teams may have to consider reskilling their workforces to use the tech.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

Our HR newsletter delivers need-to-know industry news and insights to HR pros every weekday for free.