Chicago, IL – NACM Connect’s annual conference returned to Chicago last week with its largest crowd of attendees since before the pandemic hit.
Though all of the usual topics like credit reporting, cyber security, and litigation took their usual places, it was not long before Artificial Intelligence (AI), Generative AI, and the buzzworthy ChatGPT illustrated the rapidly evolving landscape of credit and finance by taking center stage.
Emagia staff on site noted the heightened interest in AI within the credit and finance functions but continued to find some lingering questions if not apprehension. Expert panelists at the event said financial and credit professionals are simply out of time for surface-level concerns.
One of the most highly-attended breakout sessions was “AI in the Credit Department,” featuring insights from Robert Kirk, head of analytics at Dun & Bradstreet. Kirk emphasized the disruptive nature of AI, driven by the exponential growth of financial data, particularly in the era of globalization. The massive influx of data from various sources around the globe – and do to so with fewer employees, especially in the B2B credit world – has made it imperative for companies to adopt AI to analyze and act upon this information efficiently.
“Sometimes people push back on when we talk about AI and analytics, but but you’re already using it whether you know it or not,” Kirk said. “What matters most right now is how quickly you react to it.” He urged credit professionals not to shy away from AI and analytics, emphasizing that these tools are already somewhat woven into our daily operations. Moreover, given the power of AI is its ability to expedite processes, reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO), and enhance cash flow management, businesses’ expansion and escalation of AI’s use is only likely to continue, and at an exponential pace.
Kirk also highlighted the emergence of ChatGPT and similar technologies, describing them as “just the tip of the iceberg.” These AI-driven tools are designed to empower human decision-makers, not replace them.
“This isn’t a conversation anymore that GenAI is going to take your jobs,” Kirk noted. “GenAI is all about the humans making decisions.”
AI is also scheduled to be on tap as the regional credit conference season winds to a halt with NACM Connect’s Ohio Conference and NACM South Central’s “Day at the Races” in Louisville, both in the second week of November. Like in Chicago, Emagia will be an exhibitor at both, and will lead a discussion on AI in credit at the Louisville event.