How does the development of AI (artificial intelligence) present a challenge for finance departments?

Far from only being present in the scenarios of futuristic films, AI is already present in many companies.

In Hong Kong, a “robot” has been appointed to the Board of Directors of a Japanese company, Deep Knowledge Venture, and has the same voting power as its colleagues!

Should we fear the disappearance of “human” work?

Just as the automation of tasks led to fears of the replacement of man by machine during the last industrial revolution, the progressive computerisation of work has subsequently awoken fears of the dehumanisation of work.

However, who today can still deny the benefits that such progress has brought to their daily lives?

The same is likely to be true of the latest technological advances in AI.

The Machine learning and other AI-related innovations are indeed tools to improve the processing of mostly technical and repetitive tasks , and indeed, just as some tasks are no longer performed by humans, on assembly lines for example, the improvements enabled by these technologies will certainly make many “human” skills obsolete in the short term.

For example, the American association Associated Press, already uses AI that generates press releases on financial communication that look as if they were written by a journalist!

Similarly, some companies use these innovative tools for their recruitment: by reviewing all the databases where candidates submit their CVs and by cross-referencing them with the skills sought, the “machines” perform a job that would be difficult for a person to do.

How can the company support this change?

However, such changes can only take place gradually in the company if they are accompanied by the Board, both in terms of developing skills and adapting teams to this new environment.

Within the finance departments, for example, which are a key link in companies, it is necessary to map the job categories affected by these innovations,not only to quantify the impact on payroll, but also to anticipate and be able to implement training and personal development actions in time.

For if it is foreseeable that half of the current skills will be obsolete by 2020, this also means that many, if not most of the jobs to come in the next 20 years do not yet exist!

Thus, financial services are at the crossroads of both the responsibility and the opportunity that such changes imply.

By leading by example and adopting AI technologies in collaboration with their teams, these departments will be able to illustrate how transactional tasks can be lightened and processes improved for the benefit of everyone in the company.

CFOs have an indispensable role to play in the transformation to innovative smart technologies.

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