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Harnessing AI, This Firm Is Setting the New Standard in Professional Services With a half-billion-dollar investment, it is democratizing AI and bringing the full breadth and scope of evolving tech to its clients.

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AI for all. That's one of the many goals at CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), the eighth largest accounting and professional services firm in the United States. The team at CLA believes that no business should be left behind as technology like artificial intelligence changes the way we live and work.

As such, the firm is spearheading a transformative shift in the industry by strategically investing more than half a billion dollars to develop advanced technology to help resolve critical client problems and uncover opportunities. This ambitious initiative, launched in response to evolving client expectations influenced by the platform economy, positions CLA as a trailblazer of digital service offerings for businesses of all sizes.

Creating a vision for the future, from within.

Recognizing the need to adapt to changing trends, CLA opted for a forward-thinking approach in 2017, dedicating significant resources to building what their clients and employees need rather than adopting systems already in the market. By assembling a team of data scientists, PhDs, and engineers — while collaborating with leading technology companies — CLA created solutions tailored to its diverse client base, exceeding 200,000 organizations across 16 distinct industries.

Jen Leary, CEO, CLA
Image Credit: CLA

Central to CLA's technological leap are proprietary AI and data management systems, developed in-house to effectively harness the power of CLA's people and client network. Jen Leary, CEO of CLA, emphasizes the importance of bringing advanced technologies to clients, reinforcing CLA's commitment to innovation.

"We intend to leverage solutions used by some of the most inspiring technology companies in the world for the benefit of emerging markets, community organizations, and entrepreneurs," Leary explains.

Unlike traditional firms, CLA goes beyond selling time and talent — it positions itself as a pioneer by offering its proprietary technology alongside core services. Its digital solutions segment is among the fastest growing at the firm. CLA is looking to automate audit and accounting tasks, providing clients real-time access to robust historical peer data, facilitating automation, and empowering them with trend reports. This will provide powerful business solutions innovation especially to small- and medium-sized businesses that often don't have access to the latest technology.

Embracing AI to streamline operations and give clients valuable insights.

Another recent advancement at the forefront of CLA's digital transformation is CLAgpt, a proprietary large-language model system (pre-trained for language generation and understanding). This cutting-edge technology enhances task execution speed, accuracy, and efficiency, which in turn enables CLA's nearly 9,000 team members to focus more directly on client needs while supporting crucial business development goals. The investment in CLAgpt not only benefits CLA's employees but also brings valuable insights the clients it serves.

The firm is renowned for its client-centric service delivery model, and it strongly believes these new tools enhance its ability to create uncommon insights. "The danger with technology can be that you become more isolated and distant from your client base. For CLA, it's the opposite," Leary says. By automating manual tasks and data entry, AI tools like CLAgpt allow CLA professionals to focus on meaningful client interactions and deliver valuable insights that otherwise may remain uncovered.

CLA Chief Solutions Officer, Yassir Karam
Image Credit: CLA

CLA's commitment to making AI available to everyone is evident. As Chief Solutions Officer Yassir Karam explains, "We are democratizing AI, making it more available to small- and medium-size businesses, the nonprofits, and the community organizations that could be left behind in the next generational advancements."

CLA's bold investment in these innovations is a technological upgrade and a strategic move to redefine professional services. By staying at the forefront of technology, CLA is keeping its clients prepared for today's challenges and well-positioned for tomorrow's opportunities.

Click here to learn more about CLA and how its solutions can help you achieve your biggest, most important goals.