Accounting for speech recognition

Partners and staff at accountancy firm Baker Tilly have started using speech recognition software to create and write documents.

Partners and staff at accountancy firm Baker Tilly have started using speech recognition software to create and write documents.

The £100,000 trial project involves an initial group of eight accountants using
a system installed by the Speech Recognition Company (SRC). If successful it will be rolled out to more staff later this year.

The company is using Dragon's Naturally Speaking Version 5 Professional speech recognition system, which performed better than IBM's Via Voice Version 8 during pre-installation tests at Baker Tilly.

Trials are being conducted in both open-plan and single-occupant offices in the company's tax and corporate finance departments. It is hoped that "two-finger" typists will be able to increase their writing speed from about 20 words per minute to 160 words per minute and be 96% to 99% accurate.

The software can be used to control dictation to all mainstream Microsoft office applications and can also be adapted for use on other applications.

Baker Tilly said the main business benefit will be to reduce the amount of time that accountants spend on administration, rather than actually reducing administration costs. It will also provide "secretarial" support to the accountants while they are away from the office.

John Chapman, national corporate finance technical manager at Baker Tilly, said, "Even when one is skilled at using the system you are not going to get a perfect result. The document will still need work but we hope that because the raw text is already there the secretaries will have more time to improve the presentation and to comment on the content."

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