The answer is yes, and you might be surprised to know that many Finance Departments are already utilizing aspects of artificial intelligence (AI). In a recent survey of CFOs, Finance Directors, and Accountants, nearly half (46%) indicated that AI already plays a role in their organization today, and 30 percent are currently investigating its use.

“The responses underscore the growing power and use of AI tools and the implications for the finance organization,” said Therese Tucker, founder and CEO of BlackLine. “The finance department of the future will be a very different place.”

There is a lot of speculation around what AI will be able to do in the future. Here are three ways it can help your Finance Department right now.

  1. Enable Continuous Accounting

AI tools reduce the time it takes to close the quarterly books by enabling Continuous Accounting. With the right software, the close evolves from a linear, event-triggered process to a continuous close that is always running in the background.

This drastically reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to close the books.

  1. Monitor & Improve Processes

With AI-enabled software, Finance Departments can report exceptions as they occur. Even more importantly, intelligent software can learn from those exceptions.

After recognizing an exception, AI software will store that information and make recommendations for how to resolve similar issues in the future, further eliminating delays and continually speeding up the close process.

  1. Remove Departmental Silos

As organizations move toward AI and the cloud, they’re discovering a significant improvement in interdepartmental collaboration. Previously, it could be incredibly difficult to share information between different departments or even from within the same department in different locations.

With AI software, data can be accessed from across the organization. This improves processes, such as enabling an expeditious gathering and analysis of data, and results in faster insights for board members.

2018 will be a breakthrough year for AI in Finance. As influential advancements in technology have increased, so has the pressure on CFOs to adapt and adopt. Deloitte’s survey of CFOs revealed that the most pressing issue in 2018 is technological change.

According to Therese, those changes are going to be for the better. “Job roles and workflow processes will alter as AI becomes more widespread. But these intelligent tools will free finance and accounting staff from processing low-level tasks to become engaged in higher level, strategic activities.”

Read The Six Skills Accountants Need to Survive the Robot Uprising to discover how you can elevate your role and thrive in this age of continual change.

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