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Data Science and ML

The Rise of Intelligent Apps in Finance

The future of finance hinges delicately on the ability to adapt. 

As we explore the current atmosphere of the finance back office, in comparison to where it should be, a quote by Henry Ford rings true. 

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

Evolution is a natural process for everything, and businesses are no exception. 

With aspirations of growth and profitability, most organizations are eager to implement cutting-edge technology to remain competitive. Unfortunately, the finance department is often the last stop on the progress tour – and sometimes overlooked altogether. 

Legacy Software Falling Short

The legacy technology that many finance departments currently use is profoundly lacking compared to the latest advanced technology. 

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are two of the most common automation tools in corporate finance today. While both tools serve a specific purpose – RPA is programmed to execute high-volume, repeatable tasks, and OCR helps extract structured data in an automated fashion – as standalone solutions, they no longer pull their weight. 

The needs of finance departments have become infinitely more complex and require advanced technology to keep up. Legacy software by itself tends to present more headaches than help. There is a strong need for smarter, cutting-edge technology to integrate with—and enhance—OCR, RPA, and other legacy tools. 

Artificial Intelligence and next-gen applications offer seamless connectivity, the ability to learn and adapt, and update automatically, with built-in security and reciprocal, conversation-led communication between programs. With the inefficiency of current legacy software, injecting AI-based technology would provide a cost-effective and straightforward upgrade for finance departments while allowing them to still retain and benefit from their existing software. 

IT and Finance Must Collaborate

Finance departments are among the busiest across the corporate enterprise. Their days are filled with mountains of routine tasks, such as responding to requests for documentation, managing shared email boxes, and performing manual data extraction and entry, carried out by a harried and over-burdened accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) teams. 

In addition to these daily tasks, maintaining budgets and planning for the future are central to the job. So there is often no time or manpower, and sometimes even a lack of the right skill set, to research and implement additional automation and advanced technology. The focus of the finance department should remain the financial health of the business using whatever tools are readily available to them. So what should corporate finance teams do to help move the back office forward? The answer lies with the Information technology (IT) department.

A strong  relationship between IT and finance is key to success. IT is the central nervous system of a business, affecting all departments and ensuring their health, safety, security, and ability to perform. With the support of IT, the finance departments’ software could be positioned for an upgrade, and monitored for updates and advancements. 

To help finance increase productivity and accuracy through automation, IT should look for pre-configured and advanced AI-powered SaaS technology that is a lighter lift for enterprises seeking an affordable solution to automating routine financial processes. AI SaaS is easy to implement, straightforward for numerous team members to operate, with no code or low code systems, and is easier to maintain, thanks to automatic updates and new releases security implemented through integrated applications.

Introducing Intelligent Apps 

Technology drives efficiency, and every advantage matters in today’s fast-paced and competitive landscape. 

Finance departments need to normalize data, streamline routine tasks, and reduce their margin of error to deliver value and benefits for internal and external stakeholders. Organizations today operate in an era of lightning-fast business and transactions, where expectations are high, and tolerance for mistakes and slow communication is virtually nonexistent. 

As demands and requirements soar, the needs of the finance back office are finally being recognized. But with numerous solutions making claims of artificial intelligence, it is challenging to sift through all the noise and jargon to find the right match. One of the simplest ways to adopt automation while continuing to use the software already in place is to implement Intelligent Applications—or “Intelligent Apps.”

Intelligent apps are a set of next-generation technologies which include AI that work together with existing systems to advance the automation of business and process functions. Intelligent apps are a relatively new concept consisting of a host of technologies that offer both ease of use and boosted efficiency.

With a renewed focus on the finance back office and the ability of technology to further support the business needs, now is the time to invest in an automated future. RPA and OCR alone are insufficient for handling complex business objectives, unstructured inputs, and the intricate processes typically found in today’s complex finance office. Instead, the key to taking RPA and OCR to the next level, and unlocking all of the benefits, lies in RPA enhanced by AI-powered technology and OCR. Whether a company wants to continue using their current programs enhanced through AI, or have a desire for a fresh start with solutions created and configured for specific requirements, Intelligent Apps are the best way forward. 

The finance teams should work in conjunction with the IT department to explore SaaS-based Intelligent Apps that take over repetitive and low-impact work, giving deserved time back to teams to focus on higher-level projects rather than becoming burned out with tedious, time-consuming, administrative tasks. Finance could then take advantage of maintenance-free and highly secure workflows that will keep their organizations one step ahead of the competition.

About the Author

Rohit Gupta, CEO and Founder, Auditoria.AI. He founded the company in 2019, with the vision of ushering a new paradigm in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation for ERP financial applications. He is responsible for conceiving, developing, communicating, and growing Auditoria’s strategy and business as an industry pioneer in automated intelligent apps for finance. Most recently, Rohit was Group Vice President for Cloud Security at Oracle Corporation having joined via the acquisition of Palerra, the industry’s first API-centric Cloud Access Security Broker, where he was Founder and CEO.

Rohit earned his master’s degree in Computer Science from Case Western Reserve University, and is a well-known speaker and industry thought leader in the areas of emerging technology innovation, advanced analytics, automation, security, and privacy.

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