Using AI as an extension of your team

By Lucy Moore, Ensors.

How can a business’s finance team work with AI to streamline processes and increase efficiency?

Published in UK Director Magazines Spring 24
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Accountancy:
Lucy Moore,
Ensors

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability for a computer to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. AI systems are built to learn from data and improve their performance over time without being explicitly programmed.

AI is a rapidly developing field, and new applications are emerging all the time. And as it becomes more sophisticated and powerful, it is likely to have a major impact on many aspects of our lives.

So what can AI do for a business’s finance team?

Transforming Finance

In basic terms, AI is the ability for computers to think and learn just like humans. AI systems can be trained to perform a wide range of tasks including the automation of administrative responsibilities, which otherwise would require human action. It is swiftly transforming the finance function for businesses of all sizes by reducing the risk of human error and providing useful insights that can help businesses make better decisions.

Improving Efficiency

Basic versions of AI programmes have been on the market for a while, but there is now a broad range of options to support a business’ finance functions, which range from accounts payable and accounts receivable, to reporting and forecasting, which would otherwise be completed by a member of your team, eating into valuable time and resources.

In addition to these specific tasks, AI can also be used to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the finance function. For example, AI can be used to: Identify and reduce fraud, improve risk management, optimize tax planning and make better investment decisions.

Use With Care

However, whilst your team can use AI systems to gather data, automate tasks, improve accuracy and much more, it should not be used in place of talented team members to make key strategic decisions for your business. AI technology is still in its early stages, so it needs to be used with care and consideration, and there are some downsides which must be weighed up against the benefits.

For instance:

AI systems can be vulnerable to hacking and other forms of cybercrime. If hackers gain access, they could steal sensitive data or manipulate the system to commit fraud or cause issues. The systems are often complex and opaque, which can make it difficult to understand how they make decisions. This can lead to a lack of transparency and accountability in the finance function.

Also, AI systems are trained on data, and if that data is biased, the AI system will also be biased. This could lead to discrimination against certain groups of people, perhaps during credit scoring or loan approvals. AI can only work on the data it has available and if that data is flawed, so could the result.

There is a harmony to be found where businesses can work with AI to free up valuable resources within a finance function. There are a number of affordable solutions available, but make sure you consider all aspects before implementing them into your team.

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Get in Touch

Lucy Moore, is a Director at Ensors Chartered Accountants

T: 01473 220075
E: lucy.moore@ensors.co.uk
or visit www.ensors.co.uk

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