Over the past 12 months, finance professionals (CFOs, corporate credit managers, VPs of treasury, etc.) have displayed drastically heightened interest in discussing or even implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) measures. A significant catalyst for this surge in AI adoption was the November 2023 unveiling of ChatGPT by OpenAI, which provided a free-use solution and paved the way for widespread acceptance. Along the journey, ChatGPT became one of 2023’s hottest trends, synonymous with AI solutions in the financial space in a way similar Kleenex did with tissues or Coca-Cola did with soda many years ago. Its user base ranges from executives seeking insights to report on important business trends to school-aged kids looking to streamline their homework efforts.
Consequently, various AI offshoots have emerged, aiming to either outperform ChatGPT or offer specialized Generative AI (GenAI) solutions tailored to specific industries or topics. Notably, on September 6, Emagia introduced GiaGPT, a groundbreaking Generative AI solution designed for the order-to-cash domain.
Despite the curiosity and experimentation surrounding AI, widespread adoption remains a work in progress. As a result, Emagia has received an influx of inquiries about GenAI and its application in many financial operations during conferences, client meetings, and other industry events. The most common and pressing question that arises is, however is unchanged: “Will Ai take my job away?”.
In simple terms, the answer is no. However, it’s a bit more nuanced, and exceptions do exist.
Don’t Buy Into Fear Mongering
The impact on jobs varies depending on the company, but Emagia does not foresee widespread job cuts as a direct consequence of employing GenAI solutions, particularly those tailored for high-level finance and credit functions like GiaGPT. Representatives from Dunn and Bradstreet recently gave the full-throated proclamation at various B2B credit conferences hosted by regional affiliates of the National Association of Credit Management, “This is not a conversation about anymore about whether GenAI is going to take your job!”
Quite simply, the finance industry has started to move past the concern phase and is already embracing AI in some areas. Doing so is less about getting ahead of competitors and more about just keeping level with them.
GenAI can be exceptionally valuable in automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks that do not require complex human reasoning or decision-making. But AI-based solutions like ChatGPT or GiaGPT were never designed to serve as complete replacements for human workers; rather, they are intended to function as copilots or robotic coworkers. They cannot operate effectively without human involvement, and those who have attempted otherwise have experienced immediate and costly failures.
One notable cautionary tale involved Gannett-run newspapers that attempted to use AI for sports coverage without localized writers and editors, resulting in embarrassment and a deluge of complaints from readers, a significant blow at a time when the industry was already grappling with declining customer numbers can ill afford it.
100 Million Professionals Collaborating with AI-based Technology
When used as intended, GenAI significantly enhances efficiency and productivity. This transformation is likely to reshape many employment roles, particularly those at lower levels, but not necessarily eliminate them. A recent Gartner study predicted that more than 100 million professionals will collaborate or interact with some form of robotic coworkers by 2026.
Hence, the dire predictions of a “jobless future” resulting from AI appear to be unfounded. Moreover, it is exceedingly rare to find a B2B credit department that is currently overstaffed, especially over the last decade or two. In an informal survey conducted across three events in three cities this fall, Emagia found that only one professional among several dozen polled believed their credit department had sufficient staffing, let alone excess staffing, to complete all tasks within a 40-hour work week.
The reality is that there is a scarcity of young, entry-level professionals entering various back-office fields, particularly in credit and collections functions. Considering this, along with the pervasive “do more with less” culture of most high-growth or publicly traded businesses, and it illustrates that having an AI-based copilot is not just beneficial at this point; it is nearly indispensable.