Digitally enabled finance optimizes the delivery of and improves the overall quality, consistency and efficiency of capital management, while improving the effectiveness and repeatability of the overall finance value chain. IA technology in finance may include bots that perform audits, reconciliations and reporting, with greater accuracy and higher frequency.
This increases financial transparency across the organization, reducing both cost and risk.
With digitally transformed finance, a new finance digital operating model (FDOM) emerges, capable of producing real-time insights and touchless transactions. This new FDOM includes very lean and highly automated operational finance elements (O2C, P2P, transactional finance, etc.) with increased focus on shaping the real-time business decisions related to M&A, PBF (planning, budgeting, forecasting) and growth (product or service positioning, margin contribution, etc.).
The new FDOM will finally help the finance function become a true partner of the business by instantly bringing data, insights, judgment and forward-looking analysis to the table.
Finance transformation can often turn mundane tasks into strategic differentiators. In the media and entertainment (M&E) business, participations and residuals are core functions of finance. Actors, producers and other talent are often compensated via complex participations and residuals computations, and these computations are detailed in lengthy written contracts.
Historically, teams of people at each media company are tasked with the consumption, maintenance and compliance with a huge volume of contracts that cover each participant in every episode of a TV series, movie or theatrical production. With document intelligence, these contracts can be read, understood and acted upon using artificial intelligence.
This allows M&E clients to move quickly from long-form contracts to contract brief into a management system for participations and residuals. Eventually, this may eliminate the contract brief altogether. In addition to speed and efficiency, this approach brings consistency and quality to the process.
A digital operating model sets the stage for applying AI and RPA to achieve intelligent automation. To achieve an IA-transformed finance function, it may be helpful to take a “top down” approach. The CEO and CFO commit to transform finance by moving to the new FDOM as a strategic imperative. They then set a longer-term goal of optimizing the distribution of work across people and machines.
The definition of good in this case will be a moving target, but it will come more clearly into view through continuous innovation, bringing focus to a new future of finance vision that energizes and empowers key stakeholders (board, CEO, CFO and business leaders).
It is not good enough to simply deploy IA technologies across the operational and transactional finance domain without the context of a larger digital finance vision-and-future to focus priorities and support change management. Ultimately, there is a great deal of human behavior, not only IT systems, that will need to evolve and adapt.
The future of finance creates a shared vision in which transactions will be touchless, data and insights will be available in real time, multiparty contracts will be validated instantly and payments will settle and flow seamlessly. The typical finance worker will be more comfortable staying put, than applying data science, predictive algorithms, RPA and blockchain technologies to transform the world around them.
These make for great headlines, but in daily practice emerging technologies still represent change.