alliantgroup and CEO, Dhaval Jadav, Host Think Tank Focused on AI for Small and Medium-Sized CPA Firms & Businesses

HOUSTON, Texas Dec. 07, 2023 – Artificial Intelligence took center stage at alliantgroup’s latest Think Tank event which was its largest ever with more than 125 CEOs, industry partners and industry leaders in attendance. While the mega corporations and tech giants have jockeyed for AI eminence, there are still unanswered questions and concerns for the small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) of America regarding the technology. Addressing the needs of main street businesses is what has made Think Tank the premier thought leadership event for SMBs, and this year’s summit was no exception.

This year’s Think Tank also served as a formal introduction for the firm’s newest National Director, Darren Guillot, former IRS Deputy Commissioner of the Small Business Division. Guillot was the Service’s top enforcement executive on fraud and collections. As the IRS expands its crackdown on fly-by-night ERC promoters, Darren’s expertise is being highly sought after by businesses that have been misled on their qualifications and CPAs who want to protect their clients.

“Things look a little rocky, but there is still a lot of opportunity for businesses that deserve the credit, need the credit, Congress intended them to get the credit. So we just want to clear the mist, and let them know what is happening, and why it’s happening, and what’s not happening, so we can help the people that really deserve the Employee Retention Credit,” said Guillot.

During the event, Guillot presented on a panel discussing the history and latest changes to ERC, before joining the firm’s other four former IRS Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners to discuss the IRS itself and how it would be using its funding to increase enforcement efforts as well as customer service.

The highlight of the summit was the two-part presentation on AI by Chris Stephenson, alliantgroup’s Managing Director of Intelligent Automation, AI & Digital. While ChatGPT and other similar products have made AI accessible to the general public, the vast majority of business owners are still struggling to understand its practical applications and how to effectively adopt it. Stephenson demonstrated his approach to making the promises of the AI revolution real by walking attendees through a “Digital Workshop.” Guests collectively brainstormed use cases where AI could solve common issues every firm faces.

Stephenson and his team then built multiple AI solutions overnight and presented the working prototypes to attendees the next day. Stephenson referred to these solutions as “Digital Workers,” a concept he introduced, where AI programs are categorized into different function types based on how they supplement the workforce.

“A digital worker is a new part of our workforce, a new category of employee that is a technology driven worker. This creates a reality where we can fill open roles and we upskill our existing employees to allow them to do more of the work they want to do,” said Stephenson. “We wanted to show how these tools can be created to fit your needs. We want to create big impact for you, with immediate return-on-investment, and without the big enterprise cost.”

Jamie Fowler, alliantgroup’s new Vice Chair of Intelligent Automation & AI, also spoke on the panel to give her perspective on why it is imperative for smaller businesses to take advantage so as not to face obsolescence. Fowler has a decades long track record of applying new technologies to solve businesses’ problems, most recently at Grant Thornton as Chief Transformation Officer.

“Small and medium-sized businesses are where the innovation happens. By scaling these technologies, you will be able to focus more on your clients, your service offerings and the delivery side of your business,” said Fowler. “We have the expertise of implementing these technologies and thanks to alliantgroup’s 20-year track record, we understand your unique challenges and needs. We know how overwhelming the thought of tackling these technologies can be for you — but we enable you to find solutions and implement them based on your needs — and with less disruption to your existing infrastructure.

Stephenson is now making these Digital Workshops available all businesses to help them identify and build AI solutions.

The event was rounded out with a discussion on the ongoing talent shortage in the CPA profession as well as a panel focused on forecasting what legislative changes may be on the horizon for business owners. The panel was led by alliantgroup’s National Managing Director and former Senior Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, Dean Zerbe, and included the following alliantgroup advisory board members:

Senior Vice President, Rick Lazio, Former Congressman

Director of Agriculture, Heidi Heitkamp, Former Senator

Chairman of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Chairman of Job Creation & Retention, Joe Crowley, Former Congressman

Rick White, Former Congressman, fmr CEO of TechNet, founder of the Internet Caucus

Erik Paulsen, Former Congressman, lead member on the Chief Tax Writing House Ways & Means Comm

Director, Dawn Levy-O’Donnell, Former U.S. Senate Finance Committee Counsel

We have always catered to the small and medium sized businesses that are the engine of the U.S. economy. These businesses are responsible, not just for the majority of innovation that happens in America, but also for the majority of jobs created. The problem is they don’t always have the muscle to compete with the big guys. We’re here to level the playing field and if we can arm main street America with AI and talent and capital, this country will stay the best in the world,” said Dhaval Jadav, alliantgroup CEO.

alliantgroup is the nation’s premier consulting and management engineering firm with a mission to strengthen American businesses through reinvestment in innovation and job growth. We educate businesses, the industry groups that serve them and the accounting firms that advise them on federal and state credits and incentives that are legislated by our government to keep the U.S. competitive in the global landscape. alliantgroup is headquartered in Houston, Texas with additional offices located in AustinBostonChicagoIndianapolisNew YorkIrvineSacramentoWashington, D.C.; and Bristol and London in the U.K.

About the Expert

alliantgroup and CEO, Dhaval Jadav, Host Think Tank Focused on AI for Small and Medium-Sized CPA Firms & Businesses
Dean Zerbe

Dean Zerbe is alliantgroup’s National Managing Director based in the firm’s Washington D.C. office. Prior to joining alliantgroup, Mr. Zerbe was Senior Counsel and Tax Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He worked closely with then-Chairman and current Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), on tax legislation. During his tenure on the Finance Committee, Mr. Zerbe was intimately involved with nearly every major piece of tax legislation that was signed into law – including the 2001 and 2003 tax reconciliation bills, the JOBS bill in 2004 (corporate tax reform), and the Pension Protection Act. Mr. Zerbe is a frequent speaker and author on the outlook for short-term and long-term changes in tax policy, as well as ways accounting firms can help their clients lower their tax bill.

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