Why CFOs must capitalise on the AI opportunity  

27 February 2019:

Among the enterprise functions set to be transformed by artificial intelligence (AI) over the next five years, finance is not typically the first that comes to mind. We know the CFO will be called upon to provide the all-important signature to financially authorize large-scale AI implementations, but the introduction of AI into the finance department itself is rarely seen as top of the priority list.

Yet, the finance department should be one of the first ports of call for AI across many large enterprises – and not just to sign checks for projects elsewhere in the business. Whether CFOs are ready or not, AI must become an important part of how they do their job to hit their targets.

Although the introduction of AI can cause apprehension, for CFOs this is good news. It will expand their role and influence in the organization, while generating savings across the P&L. AI could be the most significant opportunity to overhaul and streamline company finances since the invention of the spreadsheet.

Enhancing the process
One of the most obvious benefits of integrating AI into the CFO’s role is the opportunity for efficiency. If CFOs can rely on algorithms to do modeling, analysis and forecasting – or at least to expedite the process – it frees up a significant amount of time that the CFO can spend on more strategic priorities. With more time, the CFO can integrate with the broader business much more closely.

AI also has huge potential to trawl much greater volumes of data, more quickly, enabling the CFO to make robust conclusions that will stand up in the boardroom. This will be critical when creating forecasts. For example, consider an enterprise that is looking to expand into a new market. With AI, it can create a much more detailed forecast about potential cashflow, assimilating internal and third-party data to dynamically predict where income and losses are likely to come from. Used well, AI is going to significantly enhance a finance department’s ability to offer predictive analysis based on all the information available.

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Source: Financial Director

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