Emerging Technology in Automation: Artificial Intelligence
The past few years have seen an increase in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for powering both business and consumer outcomes in the accounting/finance sector. Here’s what you need to know about the technology and how it can impact your business.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence is the ability of computers, or computer-controlled machines/systems like robots, to mimic human intelligence. Typically this would involve the development of skills like visual perception, speech recognition, the capacity to make decisions, language translation, and the like.
AI enables machines to:
- Perform tasks and solve problems independently
- Constantly learn from and imbibe new information to better their performance.
Although AI is capable of simulating human intelligence, its capacity to do so is limited. AI cannot fully and completely replicate human intelligence.
The Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence
AI-powered tools and software can deal with copious amounts of big data, perform detailed analysis, identify patterns in the database, and process data toward specific outcomes. Utilizing these tools in your business can help free your employees from monotonous, time-consuming, and highly repetitive tasks.
You can therefore reduce your dependence on manpower resources, and redirect the abilities of your best and brightest employees to more complex and nuanced human-oriented tasks like management and driving sales.
There are also costs and revenue benefits. According to a recent global survey carried out by McKinsey, the majority of executives whose companies have embraced AI reported an uptick in revenue for all the areas of impact, while 44% say it has reduced costs.
The Technology That Powers AI
AI makes use of neural networks which are similar in structure to the human brain and mimics how it works. They are a subset of what’s known as machine learning. That’s simply a way to teach computers to learn by themselves without having to be programmed or provided additional coding. Programming languages such as SQL and on a smaller level, Python and R, are used to query and manage the data involved in machine learning.
Neural networks support what’s called deep learning, a process whereby AI-driven technology can analyze and make sense of problems on deeply abstract levels and derive conclusions from them much like humans do.
AI’s Strongest Use Cases in Accounting/Finance Technology
The possibilities for AI within the context of accounting/finance technology are endless. Here are just a few of the many use-cases.
Claims processing for insurance. OCR (Optical Character Recognition), an AI-based technology, can automatically recognize and capture data from handwritten digits and text on paper documents. This reduces the amount of time and effort required to manually record data.
Fraud protection. AI technology can be used to detect and flag potentially fraudulent activity through algorithms that match organizational rules as well as governmental compliance requirements.
Accounts payable. AI can be used to automate the many arduous tasks involved in accounts payable such as data entry, invoice routing, processing, filing, and retrieval.
The scope of AI for the financial/accounting industry will continue to grow and evolve over the next few years. Early adoption may prove crucial to staying competitive and relevant in saturated marketplaces and for staking claims to new ones.
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