AI Is Coming To Finance. Here’s What You Need To Know.
The AI revolution is going to be unlike anything else we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Hailed in various quarters as everything from the fourth industrial revolution to the end of work as we know it, artificial intelligence will expand the role of technology in all areas of society. Its cultural and economic impact may end up being even greater than that of the internet. In one corner of this great unknown will be the opportunities AI presents to enterprise operations. And in one corner of that transformation will be your finance team.
Automation has already begun to change the finance department, but in the next few years that trend will explode. As AI spreads throughout finance software, the relationship between your team and your technology will become more complex and important.
Succeeding in an AI-first world will be a matter of aligning your employees, goals, and systems with this new technology. It will require an AI strategy.
What is an AI strategy?
An AI strategy is a plan to implement AI in a way that uses the technology to maximize your employees’ strengths. It’s how you use AI to work more efficiently while avoiding both a “wait and see” approach, setting yourself up for obsolescence, and unrealistic expectations.
In the buzz surrounding the arrival of AI, a lot of myth and speculation has gotten mixed in with the reality of what it can actually do. Partly for this reason, AI has remained somewhat remote from finance operations. But as AI gets more powerful and more prominent, understanding this technology will be essential.
Robots that can hold a conversation are decades away. For now, AI is simply shorthand for a type of automation that finds patterns in data, refines its own algorithms (within a scoped domain) and manages processes that were too complex for previous systems. AI has already entered businesses through sales, engineering, customer support, and other departments. Finance, traditionally a cautious adopter of new technology, is now beginning to see its impact.
Companies are already detecting fraud with algorithms that search entire databases of spending data for outliers. AI’s ability to read natural language has added a layer of assurance onto document review and auditing, while regulatory technology, or “regtech,” is doing the same for compliance. As technology develops, you can look forward to software one day closing your books and generating financial statements with minimal oversight from human accountants.
How AI elevates finance
Offloading the labor-intensive, low-value-add work that currently consumes a lot of your team’s time will allow your people to focus on other tasks that utilize their skills better.
One of the primary jobs they’ll be asked to do will be to make sense of big data. Over the last few years, as enterprises have begun generating an unwieldy volume of data, company leadership has turned to the finance team to interpret it. The opportunity presented by this challenge is enormous, even if seizing it is daunting. But with the help of AI, this once-in-a-generation shift can elevate the finance team to new prominence — even as other jobs automate out of existence.
Begin developing your own AI strategy
To help busy finance leaders understand how to begin developing an AI strategy for their own teams, we wrote a series of three eBooks laying out the core concepts you need to know.
In “The CFO’s Guide to AI Strategy: The Complete Series,” we’ve collected all of them to give you the full story. You’ll learn how AI works at a high level; you’ll understand the impact it will have on your finance team; and you’ll see how to begin taking practical steps to implement AI on your own team.
To see an accessible explanation of artificial intelligence and get your finance team ready for the revolution it will bring, download our eBook and prepare to lead the way.
“The CFO’s Guide to AI Strategy” is available here.