Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), which includes forecasting and budgeting, has evolved significantly from the days when finance teams used to spend days with paper records to tirelessly compile data from disparate paper records and create operating plans and budgets. A single error or change could mean the need to take days revisiting and revising work, all from scratch. However, the emergence of digital spreadsheets like Excel in the early eighties transformed financial and accounting departments from the ways they functioned and FP&A professionals operated.
Fast forward to the present day, where the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) transcends the advancements brought by spreadsheets. AI is revolutionizing financial tasks, bringing about heightened efficiency and productivity, as acknowledged by influential finance leader Nicolas Boucher, who asserts that “ignoring AI would be like ignoring Excel 38 years ago.”
The advent of Generative AI technologies, including virtual assistants, is now reshaping how financial professionals operate within the finance function. According to BCG, CFOs should embrace Generative AI technologies that empower tools including virtual assistants quickly and encourage their teams to take advantage of the digital tools across the finance function.
What you’ll learn
The Role of AI Virtual Assistants in Financial Management
AI virtual assistants, driven by technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), are emerging as intelligent allies in strategic functions like financial management. These digital assistants leverage historical data and interactions to support finance teams across diverse tasks, from forecasting and budgeting to real-time data interpretation, investment recommendations, risk assessment, and more.
In the 2022 Gartner Modern Digital Finance Talent Survey, 71% of all finance professionals said the adoption of the latest technology was important for their organizations, and CFOs and FP&A leaders should prioritize a composable finance technology strategy. This is equally true for investments in AI-powered virtual assistants.
Reshaping Financial Planning and Budgeting with Intelligent Virtual Assistants
Gartner underscores the role of Virtual Assistants as critical in the development of autonomous finance. These digital assistants, functioning with precision and promptness, redefine financial decision-making through automation, data analysis, and predictive capabilities .An AI-powered digital virtual assistant, like Emagia’s proprietary Gia platform, is like having an expert financial virtual assistant as a copilot when completing financial tasks. Moreover, it never sleeps, struggles performing complex and tedious calculations, or takes breaks.
In the future, an artificial intelligence (AI)–powered virtual assistant can be your trusted co-worker and even advisor. They are not only simplifying the complex tasks of financial management but also changing the way individuals, teams, and organizations engage with financial data. Digital assistants like ChatGPT and Emagia’s GiaGPT are capable of responding to text inputs and prompts by providing precise and reliable answers and insights along with customized charts, graphs, and dashboards generated from financial data inputs. This capability enables CFOs to get quicker answers without the need to depend on the manual tasks of the team.
The Benefits of Adopting AI Virtual Assistants in Financial Management – Planning and Budgeting to be Precise
The capabilities of AI virtual assistants in FP&A are expected to improve dramatically as artificial intelligence technology advances. Soon, we would see AI assistants delivering predictive analytics, improved personalization, and even more advanced conversational abilities within financial planning and budgeting. These innovations will not only transform the way customers, vendors, and employees are served by the finance department but also reinvent how CFOs and their teams approach decision-making and financial management.
The following are among key benefits:
- Improved forecasting capability – AI-powered virtual assistants identify patterns, trends, and correlations and use these learnings to create more accurate and trustable forecasts and budgets, to empower organizations in informed decision-making.
- Real-time insights – AI tools are capable of automatically updating the reports with up-to-date data, allowing organizations to monitor and assess the performance and market trends in real time. This empowers finance and management teams to plan and budget leveraging the real-time data.
- Productivity and Efficiency – Automation of processes frees up finance professionals from the time spent on manual, repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus more on strategic and value-adding tasks. This enables finance professionals to plan and budget more quickly and accurately, and make the right decision before the competitors.
The Way Forward for AI Virtual Assistants in FP&A
As AI technology advances, AI virtual assistants are poised to deliver predictive analytics, heightened personalization, and advanced conversational abilities within financial planning and budgeting. The ensuing innovations will reshape how finance departments serve customers, collaborate with vendors and employees, and redefine the decision-making approaches of CFOs and their teams.
In summary, AI virtual assistants are set to wield substantial influence in the finance world, offering benefits such as improved forecasting, real-time insights, and heightened productivity.
An expertly developed AI virtual assistant like Emagia’s GiaGPT can usher in automation and help overcome the challenges of the finance teams in their activities including financial planning and budgeting. While there are still obstacles to overcome, they can boost productivity in finance and FP&A, and provide insights and automation to streamline financial processes.