A CFO’s Guidebook

RPA vs AI for A/R Automation

Taking a fresh look at the latest technologies CFOs can use to transform their finance function and add more value to the business, all while balancing performance, efficiency and risk.

CHAPTER 01

FOREWORD

The robots are here, and more are coming, the workforce is restless, the customers are demanding, and the CEO is looking to you.

The past few decades have witnessed significant growth in the demands and expectations of finance leaders, mainly as they have become central to helping their organizations chase growth in an increasingly complex business world.

In forward-looking organizations, the role of a CFO is evolving from “transactional and cost efficiency” focused to “strategic value-addition” focused.

Despite their increasingly dynamic role, many CFOs are failing to recognize the impact the digital shift is having on their business and operating models.

EY’s Global Capital Confidence Barometer survey of 652 CFOs, in addition to in-depth interviews with CFOs and CEOs, revealed that only 50% of CFOs are making the shift to a digital business model a priority over the next three years.

When asked what the biggest concern for disruption was for their business, only 12% of finance leaders said advances in technology and digitization.

When asked what the biggest concern for disruption was for their business, only 12% of finance leaders said advances in technology and digitization.

The study suggests that many CFOs do not fully understand the impact that a digital shift will have on their business in the short and long term.

This eBook delves deeper into the evolving role of finance executives in this digital age, and the impact, different technologies will have on their future role.

CFOs who don’t embrace this technology shift will be caught playing catch-up as their competition takes advantage of the digital culture to gain traction in the industry.

CHAPTER 02

EVOLVING ROLE OF A CFO

… from ‘keeper of books’ to a ‘financial advisor’

The role of the CFO is rapidly changing. A chief financial officer can no longer rely on crunching numbers while focusing solely on a company’s balance sheet. With that task handled by automated technology, finance executives will instead lead strategy by using the data to drive more profound prescriptive insights.

Technology will play an increasingly significant role in executing many traditional finance tasks while at the same time generating greater insight. Meanwhile, finance executives will spend a more significant proportion of their time working with colleagues across the organization to make decisions in support of the strategy.

EVOLVING ROLE OF A CFO

“The Last ten years of IT have been about changing the way people work. The next ten years of IT will be about transforming your business.”

                                                                                                                         Aaron Levie | CEO of Box

Strategy takes center stage :

  • To succeed, CFOs must demonstrate the ability to turn data into information, and information into insights – but it doesn’t stop there.
  • They need to be able to understand and present the information in ways that help a business make smarter & faster decisions while tapping into trends that are most relevant to the organization and industry.

It’s no easy feat, but it is possible with technology.

1 How AI, Cloud, and Robots Will Revolutionize SMB Accounting, forbes.com, March 13, 2017

2 CEOs to CFOs: We Need More From You, cfo.com, January 8, 2016

3 With AI, CFOs Are Poised To Evolve Their Role Within Organizations, forbes.com, March 26, 2018

CHAPTER 03

TECH BUZZ

Digital Tool Kit of the Future CFO

Digital Tool Kit of the Future CFO

Does this sound too futuristic? It’s not. World class companies with the assistance of digital transformation have already started seeing results.

. World class companies with the assistance of digital transformation have already started seeing results

44%: Although 91% of companies believe in the importance of digital change, among them only 44% of companies have developed a strategy for achieving digital transformation. The rest remain confused as to the types of technologies available in the market, their impact on particular business operations and how to select the right technology partner for them.

1 CEOs to CFOs: We Need More From You, cfo.com, January 8, 2016

2 9 skills CFOs will need to be successful in the future, businessinsider.in, September 10, 2015

3 Hackett Benchmark Database Analysis, 2017

CHAPTER 04

THE RPA/AI CONTINUUM

Comparing the meaning of RPA and AI and finding out which is better suited for finance

Robotic Process Automation: Robot Processing Automation or RPA is the use of software ‘robots’ mimicking human actions to perform only a pre-programmed business process.

AI is used as a parent term. It is the net application of multiple processes, one of which is Robotic Processing Automation (RPA).

AI is used as a parent term. It is the net application of multiple processes, one of which is Robotic Processing Automation (RPA).

Artificial intelligence: Artificial Intelligence or AI is the ability of computer systems to learn, reason, think and perform tasks requiring complex decision making.

Artificial Intelligence is better than RPA!

Artificial Intelligence is better than RPA!

Because AI :

  • Adapts to the changing business landscape
  • Provides end to end process visibility
  • Gives better, more real-time reporting for decision-making
CHAPTER 05

QUESTIONS

Following are the questions CFOs should ask their software providers before buying the technology:

1. IT Effort :

  • How much internal IT effort would you require?
  • Will the internal IT team have to solve any issues with the technology?
  • Will we have to recode RPA systems every time a business rule changes?

2. Cost :

  • Will we have to pay for the technology development?
  • Alternatively, will it be available as a SaaS, where you pay for results?

3. Purpose-built :

  • Are you a generic technology/RPA provider?
  • Alternatively, do you have a purpose-built AI solution for O2C?

4. Decision-making :

  • Will it merely follow a set of rules or will it also assist in decision-making?

Conclusion

Technology is changing so rapidly and arriving so fast; there is a specific motivation to be cautious and take a wait-and-see approach. You might think, ‘I’m going to be smart and sit back a little bit and see what happens before I make a decision.’

The problem is that the change is so significant and the new capabilities so advantageous, that if you take a wait-and-see approach, you run the risk of being put at a severe competitive disadvantage.

So decide today, which technology is suited for your business needs and start figuring out the right technology partner (by asking questions mentioned above), who will help you transform your finance function and make your CEO, customers, and workforce happy!