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October 30, 2023

AI in Finance and Procurement: Practical Tips for Implementation

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Implementing artificial intelligence allows organizations to scale faster, make a bigger impact, create more efficiencies, and transform their business.

Recent research shows that 50% of organizations have adopted AI, including FP&A, order-to-cash, record-to-report, and procure-to-pay. Within these organizations, most are still implementing it, with the rest already optimizing AI in each function.

In this article, we’ll look at what AI is in finance, the best ways to implement it, and the top tools for getting the job done now.

Artificial Intelligence and Finance

AI is short for artificial intelligence and refers to computer systems that carry out tasks that typically require human intervention.

In finance, AI involves applying advanced computational techniques and ML (machine learning) algorithms to analyze and make decisions on financial data.

Four Main Areas of Focus When Implementing AI

A recent article by Gartner, “CFOs: Here Are 4 Actions to Ensure You Implement AI — The Right Way,” lists four main areas of focus when implementing AI in your teams.

The four main actions are:

Experiment Early

The idea is to “fail fast” and iterate quickly. Successful companies promote limited pilots, which, when unsuccessful, do not impact overall business in any way. Pick key areas to implement AI, like back-office processing or cash flow forecasting.

You can start with a pilot project or specific use case before fully scaling up. This allows a business to test AI solutions better and address any challenges before full growing.

Hire AI-Experienced Teams

Organizations hiring AI-skilled staff from outside the company are more likely to succeed by overcoming existing employees' inertia. Additionally, existing staff may not be exposed to the potential areas of value that AI can provide.

Building a skilled AI team is critical for successful implementation and ongoing oversight. You should seek candidates with a background in finance and procurement that also have the right digital skills.

Choose the Best AI Leader

Choosing the right individual to lead this initiative is critical. It demonstrates a strategic, rather than tactical initiative. Gartner recommends someone like the head of FP&A or finance analytics rather than a controller.

Invest in the Right Solutions

Building in-house solutions is time-consuming and seldom successful in the timeframe required. Look for software already leveraging AI for your own use cases. This can contribute to “quick wins, " encouraging more investment and buy-in for AI solutions.

Implement a purpose-built AI-driven software solution for finance and procurement that can demonstrate the power and value of AI. Select the best technology that meets your organization’s requirements. Whether machine learning, OCR, predictive analytics, or something else. Choose one that best addresses your specific use cases.

Tips for Implementing Artificial Intelligence

Collaborating Across Departments

Involve cross-functional teams, including finance, IT, procurement, and data specialists. This ensures your team has a comprehensive understanding of needs and challenges.

Delineate Clear Goals

Understanding your business needs and clearly defining goals and objectives is important. Identify key areas where AI can add significant value, like enhancing decision-making, improving data analysis, or automating routine tasks.

Assess Data Quality

AI tools need high-quality data for successful results. Ensure data is well-organized, accurate, and complete with intelligent automation. Preprocessing and data cleansing may be needed before feeding it into AI algorithms.

Monitor Continuously

Continuously monitor the performance of AI systems and gather feedback on user experience. Regularly review and refine workflows to ensure they remain effective and align with changing business needs.

Data Security

Always prioritize compliance, privacy, and data security with regulations like HIPAA or GDPR. Implement access controls, proper encryption, and data governance measures to protect sensitive data.

Change Management

Change management may be necessary to prepare teams for AI implementation. Communicate all the benefits and effectively train employees to interact with AI systems.

Foster a work culture that embraces innovation and change. Actively encourage open engagement, close collaboration, and willingness to explore new technologies.

Evaluate Supplier Relationships

When working with third-party suppliers for AI implementations, carefully assess their track record, capabilities, and support services. Choose companies that have relevant and reliable industry expertise.

Compliance and Risk

Ensure any AI implementation adheres to regulatory compliance and industry-specific laws and guidelines. Work closely with legal and compliance teams to navigate potential issues or challenges.

Establish KPIs

Find a way to measure the ROI and impact AI implementation has on your business. This can be done by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge progress. Use it to monitor how AI contributes to efficiency improvements, cost savings, and better decision-making strategies.

These tips are just the beginning of helping an organization navigate the complexities of AI implementation, leading to enhanced competitiveness and improved operational efficiency.

Although implementation can bring various benefits, it requires careful planning, execution, management, and monitoring.

In this context, AI-enhanced finance and procurement solutions like PayEm are the most attractive for leading organizations.

Implementing the Best Solution

PayEm is an industry-leading AI platform transforming how organizations manage their spend and procurement processes. With a comprehensive suite of solutions covering spend management, finance, and procurement, PayEm offers a holistic AI approach to optimizing financial operations.

The PayEm solution offers a comprehensive suite of tools for spend management, finance, and procurement, taking a holistic approach to optimizing financial operations.

PayEm seamlessly integrates with top brands like NetSuite, reconciling journal entries and bill payments with one click, managing all POs with real-time visibility, and handling daily tasks more efficiently.

PayEm empowers organizations of all sizes to optimize their financial processes, achieve tangible business outcomes, and drive long-term success. Ready to get started? Book a free demo with PayEm today!

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