Artificial Intelligence: What Tasks Can Self-Learning Systems Really Perform For Finance?

Artificial Intelligence: What Tasks Can Self-Learning Systems Really Perform For Finance?

Olivia Marcey

Product Marketing Manager at BlackLine

Views 398

Artificial Intelligence: What Tasks Can Self-Learning Systems Really Perform For Finance?

28.01.2020 04:30 am

Go to wherever you listen to your podcasts. Type in “artificial intelligence.” Fall down the rabbit hole.

There’s a ton of hype around AI—some of it sensationalist, some of it dark, and some of it downright terrifying.

But, while podcasters, software creators, journalists, meme-creators, etc., postulate on the potential ramifications—robot takeovers and the like—we hardly ever stop to talk about what a future with AI could look like on a more reasonable scale.

Broadly speaking, artificial intelligence is the application of computer algorithms to task automation, often in a way that mimics how a human might respond to or manage a process. Below is a summary of several subsets of AI that have or may have an impact on Accounting and Finance in the years to come:

  • Machine learning: algorithms that have the capability to change (that is, learn) as more data and more outcomes are observed
  • Deep learning: algorithms that identify relationships and associations, and apply those in similar circumstances (this is partly what our brain does)
  • Machine reasoning: algorithms that develop an “understanding” of data, relationships, rules, etc., to “think” through the implications of a particular set of information and provide some analysis or interpretation

Of these categories, machine learning (ML) has the broadest available applications and is most likely to impact an accountant’s day-to-day. Some vendors/providers will tout the availability of ML technology, but their solutions may be little more than applied automation to repetitive tasks and workflows.

It is important to recognize the difference between automation and ML, so you’re not fooled by overblown claims.

We’re still in the early days of machine learning adoption. Ventana Research’s Dynamic Insights on machine learning shows that only about one-third of participating companies (31%) have been using machine learning in any form for more than two years.

But the experts say it’s time to get moving. A recent Forbes article reported that 90% of the world’s data was created in just the last two years. While we’re good at creating data, we’re not as good at interpreting it at the speed and scale necessary to move the needle for the business.

For this reason, BlackLine has built a team of data scientists and is piloting machine learning automation for high-volume transaction analysis. We call it Intelligent Matching.

By tailoring a model to an organization’s specific data challenges, transaction-level reconciliation can be done at a new scale, delivering many benefits to our customers:

  • Instead of spending time searching for anomalies, inaccuracies, and unexplained differences in the transactions and account balances, accounting teams can focus only on the exceptions
  • Real-time reporting and dashboards surface data trends and outcomes to help F&A teams only focus on what matters most, by visually highlighting results to facilitate agile analysis
  • High-volume, AI/ML-driven automation helps free accountants to spend less time just reporting results and more time serving as a partner to the business

This is just the beginning of our machine learning and AI initiatives. Over the next five years, BlackLine will continue to embed intelligent automation solutions with our cloud platform.

Self-learning systems are incredibly well equipped to surface useful conclusions—or at a minimum, hypotheses—with the help of the nuanced judgment that only we mere humans can provide.

Stay tuned for a brand-new Ventana Research Perspective, The Impact of AI on Finance & Accounting, to read more about the applications of AI and ML for Finance and Accounting, and how to adopt a fast-follower strategy.

Latest blogs

Martijn Bos Holland FinTech

Making it through the rain: Finance in times of turmoil

You’d need to be living on a remote island, without electricity or internet to not be aware of what the world is going through right now – a medical crisis that has spread across the world and disrupted supply chains, goods and services production, Read more »

James Devoy Sysnet Global Solutions

PCI DSS and Remote Assessments

COVID-19 is obviously changing many aspects of daily life. Some will be short term measures to see us all through these times, although I wonder how many will become more permanent fixtures in our lives. The PCI SSC has provided guidance to allow Read more »

James Booth PPRO

Brave New World: A Futuristic Vision of Payments

Over the last ten years, the retail e-commerce ecosystem has undergone a wide-ranging transformation. As recently as 2010, the e-commerce and payments value chain were relatively straightforward: Any eCommerce merchant could integrate a payment Read more »

Nish Kotecha Finboot

How blockchain could potentially transform global healthcare in the wake of COVID-19

In the globalised world we live in, entities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have been established to ensure cooperation between different governments on global health-related issues. In the face of pandemics such as the one we are Read more »

Lina Andolf-Orup Fingerprints

Dispelling biometric myths and misconceptions

Gangsters cutting off enemies’ fingers to access secret locations and spies lifting fingerprints from martini glasses - the imagination of the entertainment world has been running wild ever since biometrics entered the scene. Couple that with the Read more »

Related Blogs

Barley Laing Melissa

Where AI Offers Real Value

It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement with artificial intelligence (AI) and lose sight of the reality of what it can deliver. This is because debate usually focuses on the ambitious uses of AI technology, rather than what it can Read more »

Henry Vaage Iversen Boost AI

Conversational AI and The Future of Financial Advice

Co-authored with Ramtin Matin, Lead Technological Strategist, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank   Artificial intelligence is one of the key components behind the digital revolution in the banking and finance sector. From fraud protection to customer service, Read more »

Sanjay Mathew Oracle

The Future of Financial Services: 3 Technologies Poised to Change Your Experience

If you think about it, financial services have traditionally been disconnected from their customers’ goals. For instance, when we want to buy a vehicle or house, or purchase inventory for a manufacturing process, we typically begin by researching Read more »

Steve Morgan Pegasystems

Intelligent Automation Is the Customer Service Differentiator For Banks

Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation, Blockchain, Tokenisation, Machine Learning - banks are struggling to work out which technologies are most suitable for their needs and which they should prioritise in order Read more »

Scott Fasser Sigma IQ

AI Can Fight Back Office Fires Too - 5 Applications of Machine Learning for Finance, Ops & HR

While consumer-facing applications of machine learning (ML) have gotten most of the attention (think Netflix movie recommendations, Amazon product selection and efficient driving routes in Waze), the back office deserves more Artificial Intelligence Read more »

Magazine
ALL
Free Newsletter Sign-up
+44 (0) 208 819 32 53 +44 (0) 173 261 71 47
Download Our Mobile App
Financial It Youtube channel