Artificial Intelligence “Transformational” for Finance

Oracle lays out an AI blueprint for CFOs.

U.S. chief financial officers are “all in” on artificial intelligence, with 90% of CFOs planning on bigger AI budgets in 2024, according to a recent Gartner survey.

What’s more, “zero percent” of CFOs say they’re cutting AI budgets and 81% say they’re focusing their budget dollars on generative AI, the report noted.

That’s quite a commitment to AI, especially for GenAI. Increasingly, corporate financial officers view the technology as revolutionary for their companies.

“In the dynamic world of finance, artificial intelligence has been a game-changer, transforming traditional processes and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Rondy Ng and Keith Causey, senior technology executives at Oracle, in a recent white paper. “Now, with the introduction of generative artificial intelligence, or GenAI, the role of the chief financial officer will change even faster.”

Three Big Finance Improvements With AI

Ng and Causey don’t view GenAI as a simple technology tool; they view it as a “catalyst for innovation.”

In doing so, they bring good points to the table. Let’s examine the Oracle paper and see why Oracle sees AI as a chief change agent for CFOs and what that means as companies leverage artificial intelligence to transform traditional finance functions.

A big productivity boost. Ng and Causey say new GenAI use cases “are emerging at a staggering pace” with the technology taking automation and insight to “new heights.” One manifestation of that is how GenAI will trigger a revolution in workforce productivity.

“Finance teams will boost efficiency with the continued march toward touchless operations with the next level of automation, streamlining or replacing processes, and reducing errors,” the Oracle paper states. “AI will reach into complex activities such as recommending actions to optimize capital allocation and revenue growth, improving negotiating positions, and facilitating automated business-to-business transactions.”

Ng and Causey also point out how artificial intelligence will fuel more powerful and accurate data-driven analysis.

For instance, in a financial reporting scenario, “GenAI will help prepare first drafts of 10Qs and 10Ks, including footnotes and MD&As,” the paper notes.

Curbing risk. Oracle points to the impact of artificial intelligence on the financial close and how AI helps finance departments reduce risk.

“The close process will undergo meticulous scrutiny with every entry analyzed, with anomalies detected and corrective actions provided,” the report noted.

Ng and Causey Real-time also predict data processing will be a cornerstone of financial planning and analysis. (CFOs) will “no longer be required to wait for month-end close to identify operational shortfalls and opportunities,” the paper states. “Incorporating relevant external information only enhances (the finance department’s) ability to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies, proactively offering predictions and informed recommended actions.”

Simplifying finance tasks. Ng and Causey also expect GenAI to merge with “traditional” AI to streamline firm finance functions.

“(The technology) will simplify end-to-end business flows and processes between transacting organizations, from receivables risk and collection management to fraud detection,” they said. “Other areas ripe for automation and simplification include contract preparation and project proposals, treasury activities such as loan applications and opening bank accounts, purchases and settlements, and more.”

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