Artificial Intelligence in Accounting and the Evolution of the CFO

April 22, 2021 Lydia Adams

artificial intelligence in the world of accounting

It’s no secret that technology is moving faster than ever before. It seems like every day there’s a new company or a new product that is at the cutting edge of innovation, leaving all of the previous advancements in the dust. And at the forefront of all of that innovation is artificial intelligence.  More and more companies and finance professionals are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and making it a part of their day-to-day processes, including artificial intelligence in the accounting department.

AI technology and machine learning are moving the world forward in ways that none of us ever could have imagined. If you really stood back and took a look at your life, you’d be amazed at how present AI actually is.

But what does AI have to do with the finance & accounting industry, and how have AI and automation contributed to the evolution of the role of CFO and accounting today?

On this episode of CFO Weekly, we get a chance to sit down with John Collins. John is the Chief Financial Officer at LivePerson, a cloud-based platform utilizing AI that allows companies to converse with customers through messaging in real-time.

 
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Listen above or read on to discover how AI has contributed to the evolution of finance, and how CFOs can leverage and integrate robotic process automation (RPA) & AI into their current landscape.

The Role of the Finance Function & It's Tech Evolution

It’s no secret that, especially after 2020, the world is digitizing at a breakneck pace. Nearly every business went digital in 2020, and this has huge implications for traditional products and services.

It’s not too difficult to see how the CFO operates at the intersection of all of the company’s data flows. Finance, sales, accounting processes, HR, benefits, operations, risk management, and everything in between. Now more than ever, the CFO’s job is to transform that data into useful information for strategic decision-making.

cfo utilizing artificial intelligence quote

AI & The CFO Role

As the CFO role becomes more and more of a strategic driver, it’s no surprise that  CFOs are turning to things like AI and machine learning to not only automate their organizations but to streamline and make their lives easier.

Most big enterprises have extremely antiquated back-office functions. There’s usually someone extracting data from one system, transforming it, making it digestible, and then loading it into another data analytics system. The entire process is usually very disconnected, siloed, time-consuming, and outdated.

John Collins Quote

John and his team at LivePerson deployed a new data management architecture, leveraging human AND machine intelligence, creating new dimensions of competitive advantage behind the scenes. It allowed them to make better and smarter decisions preventing human errors.

How?

Simply put, by removing the repetitive, mundane, transactional activities for most of their organizations. Allowing people to not only have a more rewarding job, but freeing them up to do what accounting professionals do better than machines ever will: be creative and strategic with information.

How Has AI Been Used for Good? - Are We Fully Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in the Accounting Department?

In the case of LivePerson, they’re literally giving people & CPA firms their time back. By allowing them to simply text a question and go about their day, having confidence that they’ll get back a message that answers their issue.

It’s satisfying our desire to be conversational to stay competitive.

As previously mentioned, we live in an increasingly digital world. And through innovations in AI and machine learning, things like self-driving cars are bound to make the roads far safer and more efficient than they are right now. We have even seen robotic surgeons powered by AI that can do a lot of the precision tasks that used to be performed by a special few humans.

The concept of AI can be a scary one for some people. Movies and TV have told us that the robots are out to take our jobs, and nothing could be further from the truth. When properly implemented, AI will absolutely save money in the finance team, but it’s about freeing accounting professionals up to do what they do best.

AI enables firms to achieve a computer vision that connects them directly with their clients for far better insights and customer loyalty.

Want to Dig Deeper into the topic of AI in accountancy? Read more on our blog: People + Technology: Why Humans Still Matter In The Age Of Automation

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