Cognitive tools and technologies, defined recently by Deloitte in a related blog, include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics, many of which mimic (to varying degrees) how the human brain thinks. Here is a summary of their findings and thinking with regards to the applications for CFOs
Cognitive solutions can help companies get smarter and more efficient over time—just like humans do, only faster and more accurately. Far from esoteric, these solutions can have very practical uses. For instance, artificial intelligence and machine learning software can help organizations spot non-paying and late-paying customers pro-actively by tracking their behaviour over time and flagging repeat offenders. And they can help on the payments processing side by using machine learning to recognize priority invoices, discard duplicate payments, and uncover fraudulent purchasing patterns.
Cognitive also encompasses the field of predictive analytics, which harnesses a variety of statistical techniques to help finance organizations effectively navigate an uncertain future.
With advanced cloud-based analytics, finance can erase the line traditionally separating transactional and performance management systems. It enables both sides of finance—operational and strategic—to come together on a common system, helping financial planning and analysis teams efficiently zero in on factors that are driving (or hurting) growth and profitability. After deploying advanced analytics in the cloud, the CFO can quickly and easily get to the data that can help him add value to the organization as a strategic partner—such as profitability by product and customer.
Cognitive solutions also have the potential to help CFOs conquer one of their toughest chores: producing quarter-end earnings reports for Wall Street. Increasingly, CFOs are the face of the company when it comes to explaining all things financial to investors, analysts, journalists, and regulators. It's a role that requires fast access to relevant facts and trends—and cognitive technologies can help.
Recently we showed a Fortune 50 telecom company an effective cognitive tool running on Oracle Cloud. In just minutes, the tool sifts through volumes of P&L statements going back a decade or even longer. Using machine-learning tools and natural language processing chatbot technologies, the tool creates a report in plain English summarizing revenue and growth drivers over the entire period. It’s a job that may likely have taken an army of financial analysts months to do.