AI & profitability: Transforming finance management with AI

May 27, 2021 1:30 AM

More finance departments have started to lean on AI and ML algorithms to make quick decisions

Mankiran Chowhan PortraitMankiran Chowhan Portrait

By Mankiran Chowhan

Last year, businesses across India faced numerous challenges to adapt quickly to the changing way of work. Digital transformation and adoption of the latest technologies have helped immensely during such dynamic times, with digital solutions aiding businesses in maintaining viability and operational productivity. For some, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the solution to quickly replicate tasks and processes that were formerly done by people. More finance departments started to lean on AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms to make quick decisions backed by near real-time financial transparency to meet their business needs.

But according to a recent study by SAP Concur, merely 11% of Indian organisations have embraced fully digital finance and administrative processes. Much uncertainty remains in 2021, and financial leaders must advocate for technological enhancements in their departments to solve for it. Here are three reasons to invest in AI-powered solutions for business spend management.

Efficient spend management
Numerous manual processes can be replaced by automation and AI. Firms that use AI-powered spend management solutions can eliminate paper processes and tedious spreadsheets. In accounts payable departments, optical character recognition and ML automatically “read” and enter invoices into payment systems, then match invoice and purchase order information.

Replacing manual processes with automated AI solutions can free up valuable employee time that can be used for business-critical work. Additionally, it helps finance managers to manage budget better ensuring liquidity. AI can also predict which companies are likely to default on payments and who are most likely to pay on time.

Increasing compliance and eliminating errors
Finance departments can benefit from AI through automated expense reporting and management. This helps finance departments close out budgets on time and better inform financial reporting. It gives businesses a much-needed competitive boost by improving productivity. These tools automatically review each expense report and flag inaccuracies in seconds based on comparisons against hundreds of data elements. AI helps alleviate financial pressure by examining massive data sets and spotting patterns or anomalies, reducing costly errors and potential penalties.

Maximising profitability
AI and ML strike a balance between companies’ priorities and employees’ needs. AI can make cost-saving recommendations based on employee preferences and company policies, and it can interact with other applications also using AI to maximise efficiency and profitability. Soon, intelligent assistants will go beyond automatic data capture and analysis to predicting and making recommendations based on instantaneous analysis of a variety of data sources.

The pandemic underscored the role of technology in our new normal. According to an AIMResearch study, the AI market in India would be around $6.8 billion. This is expected to further increase at a CAGR of 13.8% to reach $11.4 billion by 2025, as more finance departments use AI and ML to capture total spend across an organisation, eliminate inaccuracies, and budget for maximal profitability.

The writer is managing director – Indian Subcontinent, SAP Concur

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