This is from the “Accounting Makes Cents” podcast episode #34 released on Monday, 27 February 2023.
In today’s episode, we are going to stay on our topic from our last episode, artificial intelligence, but this time, I want us to focus more on how artificial intelligence can help accounting students, more specifically, for case study preparation.
Jump to show notes.
So first off, if you missed the last episode, let’s get an overview understanding of what artificial intelligence is and what it does. In simple technical terms, artificial intelligence or AI for short, is a field of science concerned with building computers and machines that can reason, learn and act in such a way that would normally require human intelligence. Additionally, AI also involves analysing data whose scale exceeds what humans can examine.
And of course, for the second part, we’re going to use a technology called ChatGPT. What is ChatGPT, you may ask? You may have heard of this term for a bit now since it was introduced to the world last year. According to Wikipedia, ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by the company, OpenAI, and launched in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3 family of large language models and has been fine-tuned using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques. A lot of big words there, but in small, simple terms, it’s basically something you can talk to while you are on the app. You can ask it questions, and it will give you answers. And you can actually carry a conversation with it. Sounds cool, right?
Anyways, as with any technology and advancement, this is really exciting. In the education sphere, this helps students understand concepts better, getting the answer from ChatGPT almost immediately. There are some limitations, of course, concerning providing incorrect and nonsensical answers, so you will still need to have some vigilance over the responses provided. But I’m getting away from the topic, since this is not a review of ChatGPT, but more to talk about how students can use it as a tool to help prepare for case study exams.
As can already be seen, from what I’ve explained earlier or if you’ve had experiences with the app, you can ask questions and most of the time, it will give you some decent answers. I actually ventured to ask ChatGPT how it can help students prepare for a case study exam, and this is what it offered in terms of general tips:
- ChatGPT can help familiarise students to the exam format. I suppose this is good thing so you understand how to approach the exams. You could ask ChatGPT to help lay your answers out to see it visually for yourself.
- ChatGPT can help analyze the case study scenario for students. This involves inputting the industry, identifying issues and offering real-life scenarios. Of course, this will also involve specific questions being asked with regards to the business case to ensure that ChatGPT gives you a detailed response on the scenario.
- ChatGPT can help develop a student’s problem-solving skills. This is a big help since case study preparation is all about testing your abilities over and over, and getting them up to a level so that at the exams, you are quick in analysing and solving problems.
- A student can also use ChatGPT to research topics. This is extremely helpful for students, especially thosses who join in on the CIMA case study mid-way, like gateway students. There is a tendency that some knowledge gaps exist if you do not go through CIMA studies traditionally, like going through operational, management and then strategic. So definitely a big help.
- ChatGPT can also help students practice writing. Case study exams are report-writing exams for lack of a better description. So improving how one writes and communicates will help in the long run at the exams.
While it is a great tool, there are some caveats to using ChatGPT. Always ensure that you are using ChatGPT as a tool, rather than as a crutch. Remember that at the exams, ChatGPT is not available to be used. So if you rely on it too much during your preparation, for example, letting it do a lot of work for you whilst preparing, you may find that you are unable to do the exams without referring to it, that is a bad thing. As you prepare, you will most likely need to practise mock exams to help you get better. The technique is to do the mocks as you would the exams. Try not to use ChatGPT when you attempt mocks to see whether you are learning and whether you have some dependency issues on ChatGPT. That is, if you’ve been using ChatGPT in your preparation. You will quickly see how you fare in the mocks.
Further, at the CIMA case study exams, the focus is still on relating back your answers to the pre-seen company or background information, so it is still important for you as a student to be able to link back your answers to what you know about the pre-seen. ChatGPT may help you say it in the right way, and sometimes it can help you sound concise and clear, but do make sure that you are being specific in some way, since the examiners will still look answers demonstrating that students understand the industry and the company on the pre-seen material, rather than generic business discussions.
At the end of the day, as mentioned, use it as a tool. We are not yet at the stage where we have a ChatGPT-enabled exams, so use it properly as a tool, rather than as a crutch. It is a great educational tool. I will admit as a tutor, this is a great tool for us as we help students navigate case study preparations.
Show notes simplified
Hot on the heels of the last episode, MJ the tutor continues the discussion on how much artificial intelligence has impacted accounting so far, but now, with a specific focus on education and how it can help students prepare for their case study exams.
Resources and links:
ChatGPT on Wikipedia
“Ding Ding Small Bell” (https://freesound.org/s/173932/) by JohnsonBrandEditing (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1RImxnsbfngagfXd_GWCDQ) licensed under CC0 Licence.