AI’s Academic Dilemma: ChatGPT Fumbles in Accounting Exams

A recent study has found that ChatGPT, the popular AI writing assistant developed by OpenAI, performs worse than human students on accounting exams. Despite its proficiency in creating high-quality written content, the AI has struggled with the complex mathematical processes involved in accounting tasks. This article explores the reasons behind ChatGPT’s shortcomings in the accounting field and discusses the implications for the future of AI in educational settings.

AI Academic Dilemma ChatGPT Fumbles in Accounting Exams
AI's Academic Dilemma: ChatGPT Fumbles in Accounting Exams 2

ChatGPT’s Accounting Struggles

  • While ChatGPT can generate impressive written content, the AI has demonstrated difficulty with complex numerical calculations that are prevalent in accounting exams.
  • The study compared ChatGPT’s performance to that of human students and discovered a significant gap in performance, particularly when dealing with calculations involving percentages, interest, and depreciation.
  • While AI’s language generation capabilities have advanced, its mathematical prowess has not experienced the same degree of growth.

The Reasons Behind the AI’s Struggles

  1. Inability to understand context: ChatGPT’s primary strength lies in generating written content based on a given context. However, when presented with a mathematical problem, the AI often struggles to understand the context or the variables involved.
  2. Lack of Mathematical Foundations: ChatGPT was not designed with advanced mathematical knowledge built into its architecture, which limits its ability to perform complex calculations.
  3. Difficulty Adapting to Varied Question Formats: Accounting exams often feature various question formats, such as multiple-choice, open-ended, and problem-solving. ChatGPT has not been trained specifically to handle such diverse formats, hampering its performance in accounting exams.

Implications for AI in Education

  • The results of the study indicate that AI writing assistants like ChatGPT may not be ready to replace human tutors or educators, particularly in subjects that demand a strong grasp of mathematical concepts.
  • As AI technology continues to evolve, developers must focus on improving AI’s capabilities to understand and process mathematical information.
  • The limitations of ChatGPT in accounting exams highlight the importance of striking a balance between AI’s language generation skills and its ability to handle complex mathematical tasks.

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The Road Ahead for ChatGPT

  • Developers are working to improve ChatGPT’s capabilities by incorporating advanced mathematical knowledge into its architecture.
  • Future iterations of the AI may include specialized modules for handling complex calculations, allowing it to perform better in accounting and other math-heavy subjects.
  • Enhancements in AI’s understanding of context and its ability to adapt to varied question formats will also contribute to improved performance in future accounting exams.


While ChatGPT has proven its mettle as an AI writing assistant, its struggles with accounting exams demonstrate that there is still much work to be done in the realm of artificial intelligence. The need for a balanced approach to AI development, one that encompasses both language generation skills and mathematical prowess, is evident. As AI technology continues to evolve, the hope is that future iterations of ChatGPT and similar AI systems will be better equipped to handle the diverse challenges presented by educational assessments and other applications requiring advanced mathematical knowledge