Artificial Intelligence (AI) is about to change the world, arguably at an unprecedented pace. It has been bubbling under for some time, but recent advancements have made the direction and velocity clearly visible even for the sceptics.
In fact, AI-enabled services have been prominent in client-facing functions already for years. However, many support functions have been neglected in AI-related funding decisions. This is no longer the case for the finance function. The world of finance is rapidly changing, driven by technology, and CFO organizations cannot be in a bystander role anymore.
In this blog series, we will explore how AI and advanced technologies are shaping the future of finance. We believe that the finance units will undergo a transformation resulting in what we call the Intelligent Finance Function.
Intelligent Finance Function refers to the CFO organization of the future, where advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent process automation, are used to automate, support and optimize financial processes.
To be more specific, we have identified (at least) these five key advantages for the finance function:
Improved accuracy: By automating tasks, intelligent finance operations reduce the likelihood of errors and improve the accuracy of financial data.
Increased efficiency: Automation reduces the time and resources needed to fix errors and complete rule-based tasks, allowing finance professionals to focus on more strategic activities.
Capability to utilize unstructured data: AI enables to use and derive insights from unstructured data (e.g. invoices, receipts, contracts, news feeds) that have traditionally required human manipulation and interpretation.
Better decision-making: AI can process and analyze huge amounts of diverse data in (near) real-time, enabling finance teams to give informed insights to businesses faster.
Enhanced customer experience: By automating processes, finance teams can respond to customer inquiries more quickly and efficiently, improving the overall customer experience.
Cost savings: By reducing the need for manual labor, intelligent finance operations can help companies save on labor costs.
In the future, we believe that the capabilities of AI to continue developing, enabling it to accomplish even more complex and heterogeneous tasks, resulting in an even higher level of automation. As technology advances, we can expect to see even more innovation in the finance domain as well. However, the adoption of intelligent solutions in finance is not without its challenges. Finance teams must be willing to adapt to new technologies, and companies must invest in the necessary infrastructure and training to ensure a successful transition. Also, as automation will take over certain tasks from humans, the job descriptions and requirements of finance professionals will change respectively.
While the adoption of AI and advanced technologies presents some challenges, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Hence, we believe that the finance function will be profoundly transformed. Moreover, we would like to introduce three key themes through which we see this change toward the Intelligent Finance Function materializing: automating transactional finance, next-generation financial planning & analysis, and intelligent strategic finance.
Director, BearingPoint Finland
Senior Technology Advisor, BearingPoint Finland