Finance and Artificial Intelligence | Deloitte US has been saved
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Who’s crunching your numbers?
She’s super smart, works extremely long hours, picks up on patterns and trends, knows and uses all the latest tools, makes great predictions, is extremely accurate, and incorporates feedback and constructive criticism well. She’s also on guard for bias all the time and ingests large amounts of operational, financial, and third-party data with ease. Meet Ali. She may just be the key to transforming your company’s finance function.
Ali could also be yours. She’s “available” as an agent of innovation–she’s artificial intelligence (AI) in action. AI is well out of its early adopter phase. More importantly, CFOs are ready to explore AI’s potential–“accelerated business digitization,” including AI, was one of the top strategic shifts CFOs said their companies were making in response to a turbulent economic environment brought on by the pandemic. Already, 67% of respondents in our State of AI survey said they are currently using machine learning, and almost 97% plan to use it in the near future. Among executives whose companies have adopted AI, many envision it transforming not only businesses, but also entire industries in the next five years.
Recently, AI has transcended industries and sectors with explosive growth. It is now a powerful tool for CFOs and executives to address key challenges they face, including automation of processes, optimization of outcomes, and transformed engagement with tools and data. How should you be thinking about AI for the finance function? What should your goals be? And how can finance’s use of AI contribute to your company’s differentiation?
Within the finance function, AI can be applied to replace repetitive and labor-intensive tasks, performing such transactional work with increased speed and accuracy. Moreover, with its capacity to learn from large data sets, the technology can also be used to improve accuracy in such areas as budgeting and forecasting to enhance companywide decision-making. Take a look at three solid use-cases:
Optimally, AI can help finance departments shift human focus to activities that add real strategic value. “Ownership” of AI for finance can be inside finance, or elsewhere. We’ve heard from CFOs that they don’t want to become data scientists. (Nor, we might add, do data scientists want to become finance executives.) The foundation of a good result for AI in finance is to build cross-functional teams as you plan for AI. Some organizations are creating a Center of Excellence for AI applications. Discuss with stakeholders the universe of use cases and how they can apply to finance, then prioritize the ones that have the potential for providing the greatest value or the greatest risk mitigation. The benefits of using AI in finance can be numerous:
CFOs and the entire finance function can be transformative agents of innovation by using AI. The results can not only inform the finance team with better, faster information, it can influence the strategic thinking of the entire organization. That should be the driver.
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Smart CFOs now have to give serious thought to artificial intelligence (AI). The technology, which enables computers to be taught to analyze data, identify patterns, and predict outcomes, has evolved from aspirational to mainstream, opening a potential knowledge gap among some finance leaders.