Remember the early days of personal digital assistants and cell phones? Before they were “smart”? We were wowed by the first hand-held computers (now long forgotten) like the Palm Pilot and Blackberry, but few among us knew then that that in a few short years, we would become dependent upon them in all aspects of our personal and business lives. Technology and time march swiftly on, and business moves fast. In this first of a two-part blog series, we’ll help you understand how today’s emerging innovations are already impacting business operations, profits, and productivity, and how to adapt or consequently fall behind. Just ask the folks at Blackberry.
If you are a modern finance leader focused on strategic priorities, workflow automation will become even more critical for handling routine accounts payable (AP) tasks such as invoice processing, approval, payments and vendor audits. Embrace five emerging technologies to scale gracefully and remain competitive.
One: Data and Analytics
Finance leaders are looking at the best strategies for organizing and standardizing their data, which is a top pain point for many organizations, according to industry research . But while getting a better view of internal data is critical, advances in machine learning and unstructured data processing will assist CFOs in becoming more accurate in estimating revenue and profitability…and making smarter business decisions.
And that is only the first step. Looking ahead, prescriptive data analysis will identify new markets, customers, services, and channels—all leading to profitable growth.
Two: Risk Management
Yooz chief innovation officer and COO, Laurent Charpentier, expresses a frustration shared by many CFOs and risk managers, “Up until now, we had to have a human that could actually decipher the information from risk evaluation, which was a nearly impossible task.” Fortunately, that is changing. Now, AI and more robust data analytics will enable finance teams, including AP departments, to make more informed decisions about cash management, investments, and lending, thus reducing the risk of being caught short of capital to fund mission-critical projects.
Further, Charpentier says, “Future AI tools will have the ability to analyze a lot more data than is currently possible to detect fraud before it gets too far.” And that will allow you to sleep at night!
Three: Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
While today’s “robot” may not wander around your finance offices flailing its arms and shouting, “Danger Will Robinson” (for those of you that admit being old enough to remember the 1960s TV series, Lost in Space), it might be your new favorite co-worker. Adoption of cloud-based AP automation platforms that leverage a form of RPA powered by AI and machine learning is expected to become more widespread, streamlining and improving efficiencies across the entire financial planning and analysis process.In Part 2 of this series, we’ll take you to the edge of computing, running down the fourth and fifth technologies that will help you scale gracefully and remain competitive.