Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the topic that everyone wants to talk about right now. It’s not just developments in this technology that are getting people excited but also the opportunities that there are for improving existing systems, including in financial planning and analysis. In the financial sector there is great potential for success with AI, not just in terms of the automation options that it presents but also when it comes to simplification and optimisation of analysis and reporting. So, how is AI likely to affect financial planning and analysis as we know it?
What changes are we likely to see as a result of AI?
Automated processes and cognitive tools with predictive and proscriptive insights will enable a significant increase in efficiency, accuracy and usefulness of the existing processes that underpin financial planning and analysis. The changes that we could see as a result of AI include:
- Improved reporting as a result of the introduction of real time elements and increased accuracy
- More accurate forecasting with a broader reach
- Implementation of comprehensive, infallible compliance standards by using automation to trigger required processes and procedures
- Reduced manual interventions in financial planning and analysis, resulting in a positive impact on accuracy and speed
- Better use of resources and optimised systems creating increased operational efficiency and higher levels of productivity
- Support to enable better integration of analytics into strategy and forecasting. Data-driven decision making is becoming increasingly important and AI has a key role to play in enabling businesses to benefit from this. AI has many functions relating to better data analytics, including helping to use data to develop a common strategic vision, creating more insight into key business metrics and delivering more accurate predictive and prescriptive performance analysis.
AI is not just science fiction
Machine learning tends to conjure up visions of robots and the Hollywood version of AI. However, the reality is that this can be a much more subtle process that enables adjustments to financial planning and analysis that can create a real shift in performance and results. In many ways, AI in this sector is still developing but for those businesses that are keen to be prepared to adopt AI into financial planning and analysis as soon possible there are a number of key elements to ensure success. These include:
- Ensuring that your business has enough computing power to integrate AI
- Creating a system of exceptional data management so that the data that you’re asking an AI to work with is clear, clean and labelled with clarity
- Identifying a genuine need for an AI i.e. there is an obvious challenge that needs to be solved where the use of AI can add real value
AI is still an emerging technology and its practical application in financial planning and analysis is at a developmental stage for many organisations. However, there is no doubt that it will be a driving force in the way that the financial sector evolves in the years to come.