Organizations that adopt emerging technologies such as AI in their finance function are seeing significant benefits, according to a new study released yesterday by Oracle. On top of increased revenue growth and market share, the finance teams are operating more efficiently, with 63 percent of managers and executives saying they have observed greater employee productivity after implementing AI in their finance systems. The number increased slightly, to 67 percent, for the specific application of digital assistants or chatbots.
The study, which covered 700 organizations around the world, found that the use of AI in the finance function helps to speed up that most fundamental of finance tasks, the closing of monthly accounts and the generation of financial statements. Respondents also said that it reduces errors, speeds up analysis and the production of reports, and automates otherwise time-consuming routine tasks. Chatbots, for example, can take over tedious workflows such as the submission of expenses or handle routine queries. AI even improves workforce planning for the finance teams, something more usually associated with its use in the HR function.
Despite these clear benefits, many organizations do not seem to associate AI in finance with employee productivity. Out of those respondents who had not yet implemented AI applications in their finance functions, only 38 percent actually expected productivity to increase if they did so; they tended to focus more on improved speed of analysis and fewer errors, perhaps because these are high priorities for finance teams. The gap was similarly great for digital assistants, with organizations more inclined to associate chatbots with reduced administrative costs.
One particular finding, however, may be of exceptional interest to finance personnel: AI reduces the number of person-hours required to complete tasks by an average of 60.75 hours per week. This translates into closing the monthly accounts as many as five days faster; taking four days less to generate and audit financial statements; and taking up to two whole weeks less to produce reports. In a field notorious for long hours during peak season, many finance professionals will doubtless appreciate this benefit.