BDO case study hero image

Simplifying the auditing process with conversational AI

Campaign: Chatbots and voice applications, Content and experience management

Auditing isn’t an industry which has enjoyed the same levels of digitalisation as other sectors over the last ten years. In 2018, only 14% of respondents in a PwC survey said internal auditing used advanced technology. 

One of the reasons tax industry leaders cite for this lagging innovation is a widespread unpreparedness for digital transformation, due to a lack of “tech-savviness”. This fear of the unknown means many in the auditing space still face a wealth of clunky, manual tasks which affect both the auditor and the auditee.

That’s why the Swiss branch of BDO, the global accounting group, partnered with Manifesto to deploy conversational artificial intelligence (AI) through its solution.

Taking on an traditional market with new tech

BDO, which strives to offer its business customers flexible, adaptable support through the ease of digital channels, wanted to bring new technology to a traditionally “old school” process like auditing.

They recognised that conversational AI could help it better engage with customers, who would find it easier to complete daily business tasks on a platform which was more intuitive.

By reinvigorating an industry which has long relied on legacy technology and drawn-out processes, Manifesto helped BDO gain a significant edge on some of its largest competitors.

Detangling processes with a new web-based tool

Manifesto began this project by mapping out the journeys taken by both the customers and the auditors. This then paved the way for us to develop a whole new vision for intelligent automation. Once we’d evaluated data, security and technical feasibility, the team then went on to carve out a delivery roadmap.

We decided to develop a new web-based tool as part of the core solution, designed to simplify the auditing process and move customers away from laborious, physical document-sharing requirements.

To support the auditees through the process, Manifesto deployed a chatbot using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning, which significantly boosted help response times. It also allows users to escalate queries to a human auditor if the query is too complex for automated responses, making for a smooth user experience (UX).

Reducing processing time and improving customer experience

Blending service design thinking with applied AI, Manifesto delivered a new, intelligent end-to-end process which makes auditing faster, smarter, and less complex than the industry traditionally makes it out to be.

The chatbot supports French, German, and English with the help of Microsoft’s Language Understanding (LUIS), which was the client’s preferred natural-language understanding (NLU).

For standard support questions, Microsoft QnA Maker manages these with a different knowledge base for each language. As for custom conversational flows and contextual integration, these are supported through OpenDialog.

Following the submission of audit data, Manifesto’s AI algorithm will classify an audit type, highlight anomalies and recommend potential outcomes or responses.

The platform has improved customer experience and reduced the support load on the team at BDO. Specifically, our solution has cut down the audit processing time – thanks to AI classification and recommendation.

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