Reshape the Finance Function using Automation and Artificial Intelligence – Part 1

Category: Workday Financials Posted:Mar 11, 2020 By: Ashley Morrison

In a current McKinsey survey, only 13 percent of CFOs and other senior organization executives surveyed claimed their finance companies use automation technologies, such as robotic procedure automation (RPA) and machine learning. What’s even more, when asked how much ROI the finance company has generated from digitization as well as automation in the past 12 months, only 5 percent stated it was a significant return; the much more common action was “moderate” or “minimal” returns.

While that number may appear low today, automation is concerning the finance feature, and it will certainly play an important role in advancing the CFO’s position in the C-suite. Research suggests company financing teams spend regarding 80 percent of their time manually gathering, verifying, and also combining data, leaving just about 20 percent for higher-level jobs, such as analysis as well as decision-making.

In its truest type, RPA will certainly release a new wave of the digital transformation in corporate finance. Rather than programming software to carry out particular tasks instantly, RPA utilizes software application robotics to process transactions, monitor conformity, and audit procedures automatically. This could reduce the variety of required manual tasks, aiding to drive out mistakes and boost the efficiency of finance processes handing back time to the CFO feature to be a lot more tactical.

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What Automation Means for Finance Day-to-Day

According to the report “Companies Using AI Will Add More Jobs Than They Cut,” businesses that had automated at least 70 percent of their business procedures contrasted to those that had actually automated less than 30 percent discovered that more automation converted into more profits. In fact, the highly automated team was 6 times most likely to have revenue development of 15 percent each year or even more. The highly automated team was 6 times more likely to have an income growth of 15 percent per year or more.      

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In the right hands, automation and Machine Learning can be an amazing mix for CFOs to transform the finance function, yet success will certainly depend upon automating the best tasks. The very first goal for a finance group needs to be to automate the recurring and also transactional tasks that take in most of its time. Doing this will certainly free finance approximately be even more of a tactical expert to the business. An Adaptive Insights study found that over 40 percent of financing leaders state that the biggest driver behind automation within their organizations is the demand for faster, higher-quality insights from executives and also functional stakeholders.

Accenture’s worldwide skill as well as organization lead for financial services, Andrew Woolf, says the obstacle for businesses is to “pivot their workforce force to get in a completely brand-new world where human resourcefulness fulfills smart technology to open brand-new types of growth.”

Where Automation and Machine Learning Can Drive Finance Transformation

Deal handling is one of the major barriers preventing finance from attaining change and also the utmost objective of providing a much better company collaboration. It’s not shocking that it’s the initial port of call for CFOs looking towards automation.

RPA integrated with machine learning offers finance leaders with a great way of optimizing the way they manage their accounting procedures. This has been an uncomfortable location of financing for such a long period of time and also can have a straight effect on a company’s cash flow,” says Tim Wakeford, vice head of state, financials product method, EMEA at Workday. “Finance spends a massive amount of time looking via invoices and various other documentation to manually correct errors in the basic ledger, while machine learning might automate this, aiding to intelligently match settlements with invoices.”

Machine learning can also reduce financial risk by flagging suspect payments to vendors in real-time. Interior, as well as external fraudulence, costs businesses billions of bucks annually. The present system for minimizing such circumstances of scams is to rely upon hand-operated audits on an example of invoices. This indicates taking a look at just a portion of total settlements, and also is the proverbial “needle in the haystack” approach to recognizing fraudulence as well as mistakes. Machine learning can vastly enhance the volume of invoices that can be inspected and analyzed to make certain that companies are not making replicate or fraudulent payments. 

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” Ensuring conformity to federal and global laws is an essential problem for financial institutions, particularly provided the progressively stringent legislations targeting money laundering and the funding of terrorist activities,” clarifies David Axson, CFO approaches global lead, Accenture Strategy. “At one big international bank, up to 10,000 staffers were in charge of recognizing questionable deals and also accounts that may suggest such illegal activities. To help in those efforts, the bank applied an AI system that releases machine-learning algorithms that segment the transactions and also accounts and sets the optimal thresholds for signaling people to potential instances that may call for more investigation.”


Striking the balance in between emerging technologies and an organization’s essential asset. Regarding reshaping the future of work in the finance function its people are going to be essential for the future of finance. With finance being just one of the functions most affected by automation, CFOs need to bear in mind that the success of any kind of technology will constantly depend on the capabilities of individuals using it. 

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