Many companies are presenting themselves as AI companies without the technology to back it up. While basic data analysis and pre-programmed rule-based decisions are a facet of automation, the difference is that AI systems are iterative—they get smarter and more autonomous with the data they analyze. Questions to ask before investing in a company claiming AI: are they doing more than basic data analysis? Are they using data to create systems that enable machine learning? Is the technology iterative and reducing the need for humans in the loop?
In too many organizations, CFOs are still once-removed from the center of digital-transformation efforts, despite the fact that they own and manage much of the financial data. In a recent McKinsey&Company survey, CFOs indicated that they want to spend more time on digital initiatives and the application of technologies to finance tasks. To truly succeed in building a digital finance function, CFOs will need to develop a clear vision of the desired target state for a digital finance function and how that links to the company’s overall business strategy.
The “gig economy”— known for its group of workers who desire flexibility in schedules, work location, and even variety in their employers—can be of benefit both to the employee and employer. In the past, employers needed a full-time, in-office staff because of paper-based workflows. In today’s digital world, that's no longer the case. Financial staff are no longer tied to traditional offices as a result of "work from anywhere" mobility developments, enabling every type of schedule and geographic location. Organizations of all types can eliminate the overhead of costly office space.
Open banking, whereby customer banking data is shared through secure APIs, is now the law in the EU. It's not likely to become law here, but competitive market pressures are driving the U.S. in the same direction as banks realize interoperability with FinTech firms will boost customer satisfaction and retention without the R&D costs of developing their own products.
Millennials will comprise more than one-third of Americans by 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. Millennials have been assertive in adopting digital wallets to pay for goods and services that eliminate the need for physical currency. Embracing new technology in the accounting department can embolden and empower businesses to attract to millennials for hiring. Tech-savvy and eager to learn and try new things, millennials can supercharge digital transformation in accounts payable and the finance suite.
—The Global Treasurer