Most senior financial decision-makers (90%) are comfortable with automation performing more of their day-to-day accounting tasks in the future, and 40% believe that AI and machine learning (ML) will improve forecasting and financial planning.
Artificial intelligence (AI) changes everything we know about financial management. Just as cloud computing broke every software development and customer service rule, AI is the next wave of disruption, and it brings radical change.
Addressing AI anxiety
A common narrative around emerging technologies like AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation is the anxiety and fear that they’ll replace humans. In South Africa, with an unemployment rate of over 30%, these concerns are valid.
But if we dig deep into what we can do with AI, we learn it will elevate the work that humans do, making it more valuable than ever.
Sage research found that most senior financial decision-makers (90%) are comfortable with automation performing more of their day-to-day accounting tasks in the future, and 40% believe that AI and machine learning (ML) will improve forecasting and financial planning.
What’s more, two-thirds of respondents expect emerging technology to audit results continuously and to automate period-end reporting and corporate audits, reducing time to close in the process.
The key to realising these benefits is to secure buy-in from the entire organisation. With 87% of CFOs now playing a hands-on role in digital transformation, their perspective on technology is key to creating a digitally receptive team culture. And their leadership is vital in ensuring their organisations maximise their technology investments. Until employees make the same mindset shift as CFOs have, they’ll need to be guided and reassured about the business’s automation strategy and the potential for upskilling.
Six benefits of AI – in layman’s terms
Speaking during an exclusive virtual event to announce the results of the CFO 3.0 research, as well as the launch of Sage Intacct in South Africa, Aaron Harris, CTO for the Sage, said one reason for the misperception about AI’s impact on business and labour is that SaaS companies too often speak in technical jargon.
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“We talk about AI and machine learning as if they’re these magical capabilities, but we don’t actually explain what they do and what problems they solve. We don’t put it into terms that matter for business leaders and labour. We don’t do a good job as an industry, explaining that machine learning isn’t an outcome we should be looking to achieve – it’s the technology that enables business outcomes, like efficiency gains and smarter predictive analytics.” […]