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CFOs May Worry About Adoption, But AI Is Coming Fast

October 9th, 2019

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As organizations around the world rush to digitize operations, their CFOs worry their finance group is lagging in the digital transformation.

Agile Finance Unleashed, released earlier this year, details the state of digital finance, painting a picture of digital leaders, where the vast majority report a "compelling digital experience" for their internal and external customers, and the bigger share of organizations that are non-leaders. Most CFOs in these non-leader organizations say their finance teams don't have the skills to support digitalization.

The findings of the report resurfaced recently in an AccountingToday article. Outlining how rapidly artificial intelligence is becoming a key part of digitalization, the article cites a few troubling statistics from the report. These two are key:

  • Only 11% have implemented AI at scale across the finance function
  • 56% were not even deploying AI finance tools at the time of the survey at the end of 2018.

Here's the irony, many accountants are already using tools that have at least some basic intelligence built in. The article mentions "accounting software that can automatically capture and enter all the required data from any type of invoice and start the bill-creation process as soon as the invoice hits your inbox."

Another application can review expense reports and receipts for errors and policy compliance, flagging iffy expenses for accounting.

These are some rudimentary applications. Whether they are "true" AI or an automation process is besides the point: They represent a step toward digitalization of accounting and finance.

The article goes on to discuss more sophisticated programs that leverage artificial intelligence to analyze accounting firm client portfolios "to see how they’re doing, compare what you see to other macroeconomic data points, and start making the sort of forecasts and predictions that are invaluable to your clients."

Whether or not corporate finance functions are falling behind in their digital transformation, savvy accounting firms are adopting AI-enabled automation and AI analytics to improve efficiency and service to their clients. With off-the-shelf AI and machine learning platforms, says AccountingToday, "you can more easily drive insights and get the data you need to make the best decisions."

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