Welcome to another edition of the Tech for Finance Newsletter where you'll learn 3 ways to hack your life with ChatGPT.
1. Use ChatGPT to become an Excel Wizard
2. Use ChatGPT as a knowledge base
3. Use ChatGPT as a personal assistant
BONUS - How to write good prompts
For those of you who aren't aware. ChatGPT has taken the world by storm as a scary yet accessible AI chat bot, equipped with vast amounts of knowledge, and linguistic programming to make its responses as human as possible.
Schools are banning it as students are asking it to write their essays from them, developers are using it to write code for them, marketers are using it to write copy, and Google see it as a massive threat to the ad business. Why? Because it gives direct answers in seconds, without you having to navigate a tonne of web pages. AND, you can hold a conversation with it and ask it to tweak the responses it's giving you if not quite right.
When asking ChatGPT to describe itself, as well as how it's different to other AI chatbots it came back with the following.
[Note] The questions you ask ChatGPT are called 'Prompts' and there's a lot of content on how to structure them well. A good starting point is this Awesome ChatGPT Prompts resource. Just scroll down the page a bit.
[IMPORTANT] Not all of the data that ChatGPT produces is 100% accurate, so make sure to double check and test before you accept its outputs.
So how can you use it as a finance pro?
Becoming an Excel Wizard
So, using chat GPT could mean you don't need download any more Excel formula cheat sheets, EVER.
It could also provide a way for you to leverage VBA without needing to know how to code it!
Example 1 - Simple Prompt
Lacking the brain capacity to calculate an Excel formula?
Let's say you want to work out the percentage increase between 2 columns (A & B) and input that in the 3rd (C)
Prompt - Write me an Excel formula which which populates column C with the percentage increase/decrease between columns A and B
Here's the result
Example 2 - VBA Code
Got some work that's very manual? Say, merging the data from multiple spreadsheets into one?
Easy - Just get ChatGPT to write some VBA code for you.
Prompt - Write a VBA script that will copy column A, B & C without the first row from all Excel files in a certain folder and paste it in the open Excel file one below the other, while in each row in column D write the name of the file from where it was copied.
The above example is illustrated and tweaked in a video by 'Data Visualised' that you can find here.
All of the knowledge, All of the speed
It would be nice if you didn't have to pull out all of your reference books when you need a bit of a refresher. ChatGPT could help here.
Example 1 - Change in inventory costing
Prompt - Give me some examples of how moving from FIFO to actual costing is likely to affect my inventory valuation. How will it affect our balance sheet, and will it have a positive or negative affect on our P & L?
Example 2 - Best Budgeting Methods
Prompt - Our business is growing and we've been using a zero-based budgeting model that is getting harder to manage. What other types of budgeting would you recommend to a company looking to control expenditure as much as possible, without creating a massive admin overhead?
The Power of a Personal Assistant
Any writing tasks, or documentation to produce, but no-one to produce it? help may be at hand.
Example 1 - Job Specification
Prompt - Act as an HR manager with experience hiring for finance roles in professional service industries. Write me a job specification for a FP&A manager. Make sure to include sections for the sorts of skills we're looking for, the type of experience we'd expect to see, what their day to day would look like as well as their key responsibilities. The writing needs to be engaging and show off our warm and welcoming company culture. This needs to take up no more space than a page of A4.
This then gives you the basics that you can tweak so it's a bit more fit for purpose.
Example 2 - Personal Development Plan
Prompt - Act as an expert in employee satisfaction. Write me a template for a personal development review, where the job role is financial controller, that's heavily focused on tracking positive results with areas for tracking both personal and professional goals and objectives. Include some example questions to be asked by the interviewer as well as some insight on what conversation topics may bring out the best in that employee.
BONUS - How to write good prompts
As you can probably glean from the above, prompts work best when they ask ChatGPT to assume a persona, give context, and provide clear instructions on the content to be produced, as well as the format of what the output should be.
As one last example, let's break down a silly post I got ChatGPT to write for LinkedIn, essentially writing a breakup letter to itself.
Prompt - Act as an ex-lover. Your ex-lover is an AI chat bot called 'Bot'. You are leaving 'Bot' for a human. Write a break-up note, highlighting all of the areas where AI chat bots perform poorly and what you're leaving 'Bot' for a human brain. Write in the style of Marcus Aurelius.
Let's break it down:
1/ Act as an ex-lover - Clear instruction on the persona to adopt
2/ Your ex-lover is an AI chat bot called 'Bot'. You are leaving 'Bot' for a human - Clear context
3/ Write a break-up note, highlighting all of the areas where AI chat bots perform poorly and why you're leaving 'Bot' for a human brain. - Clear instructions + Output
4/ Write in the style of Marcus Aurelius - Further instruction on style of output
ChatGPT is still free, and this is because OpenAI are using the 'public research preview' to feed the algorithm so that the next release becomes even better.
We still don't know what the next release will look like, what it will be charged at, or even if it will remain publicly available.
With this in mind, make use of it tactically for now, but don't re-build your life around it as everything is likely to remain in flux for the next 6-12 months.
1/ ChatGPT is a great tool, when used in the right way
2/ You can use prompts to generate formulas, code and documentation providing you're using them in the right way
3/ Make sure to sanity check your data for accuracies
4/ Be aware that ChatGPT is evolving, and it's current form may not last forever. Don't become all consumed by it.
That's all for this week folks.
When you’re ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
1/ E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re a finance pro and you feel like your current tech-stack is holding you back, and I'll provide some 1-2-1 advice
2/ Subscribe to the Tech for Finance Podcast here.
Know someone else that'll like this? It'd mean a lot to me if you could forward on 🙂