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How to Harness the Power of AI in FP&A

How to Harness the Power of AI in FP&A

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that casts a big shadow.

It’s at the forefront of most leader’s minds. Planful’s research has shown that 70% of CFOs have an increased budget to invest in new technologies, like AI. But, as a CFO, knowing how to incorporate AI into your finance and accounting functions can be confusing.

AI works well in FP&A to catch errors and identify trends in your data much faster than a human can — which reduces surprises down that line that could derail your planning cycle.

In this article, you’ll learn three ways AI can directly impact your organization’s financial planning process and how Planful Predict transforms FP&A at companies like Rocket Software.

3 ways AI can assist with financial planning

Thanks to AI, FP&A professionals can rely less on clunky, manual labor and more on strategic thinking. This means that CFOs are becoming more confident in data accuracy and have shifted their focus to strategy.

The best part is, AI doesn’t have to replace your current workforce. Rather, automation helps to take on the more redundant, manual tasks that eat up your team’s time so that they can think creatively about new solutions to help you reach your goals.

Let’s look at three ways AI works with FP&A teams to improve the financial planning process, like increasing forecast accuracy and making teams more agile so workers can focus on high-value tasks to grow their organization.

1. AI improves your forecast accuracy

At any given moment, your finance team is sorting through mountains of data to build accurate forecasts and scenarios for different possible outcomes.

Without AI, CFOs either need to hire additional staff to process data or make do with a lean team to get necessary tasks done at all costs. Traditionally, this is how teams have operated. Still, it takes up a great deal of time and resources and can lead to burnout among your team.

AI also continuously learns and adapts to new data, even if your data grows quickly. That means you never have to worry about new information derailing your planning cycle. You can trust that the predictions from your data are accurate and relevant at all times.

Planful’s native AI function, Predict, was designed with FP&A teams in mind. It’s able to analyze vast amounts of data in seconds rather than days.

Predict’s machine learning algorithms also work continuously to quickly understand your business and identify patterns, regardless of market volatility. Best of all, it can detect anomalies in your data so you can immediately take corrective action.

2. AI makes FP&A teams more agile

Business executives expect their FP&A teams to create a variety of scenarios, budgets, and projections daily or weekly in light of rapid economic changes.

Creating a high volume of accurate scenarios aims to make the organization more agile in dealing with market fluctuations. A manual strategy to tackle agile planning can make your team less agile in the long run.

Save your team from drowning in data by incorporating AI into your workflows.

“If you don’t have the modern tools, the burdens you’ve faced in the past will only increase,” says Grant Halloran, CEO at Planful. “You want to be able to give your business leaders financial insights at the speed they now expect.”

Cloud-based financial management platforms (FPM) leverage AI to generate scenarios much faster than manual processes. This means that, as CFO, you can look ahead, modify operations as needed, and respond quickly to fluctuating market conditions. All of which contribute to a more agile team.

3. AI lets you focus on high-level activities

Finance and accounting professionals are meant to spend their time on high-value and creative work to grow the business. Instead, many of these workers are stuck in manual and repetitive workflows, contributing to burnout, silos, and dissatisfaction.

AI automates those repetitive tasks so your team can focus on more rewarding work, like using creative problem-solving to improve the financial IQ of colleagues across your organization.

While not seemingly related to crunching numbers, these kinds of tasks are rooted in soft skills. They can dramatically improve your workplace culture and productivity. Cross-functional collaboration also leads to stronger relationships and improved communication.

AI in action: Rocket Software

Global technology leader Rocket Software already used Planful as a workforce planning solution but needed help consolidating financial data. Rather than investing in another tool in its already full tech stack, Rocket Software added Planful Predict.

“Planful Predict looks at our historical data and highlights anomalies,” says Luis Martinez, Sr. Manager, FP&A at Rocket Software. “It is a great way to pressure test our assumptions and add value to our decision-making.”

Rocket Software’s main goal with using Predict was to centralize data from their existing systems, like Oracle ERP, Workday, and Snowflake, into a single source of truth.

Thanks to Predict, Rocket Software was able to move to rolling forecasts successfully and now has greater confidence across the company’s global operations.

“Planful Predict helps us have a meaningful dialogue with the business, know where to ask questions, or see where someone accidentally added an extra zero,” says Luis. “Best of all, we can do that at scale without adding finance resources.”

Invest in an AI tool to automate your financial planning

Clearly, incorporating AI into FP&A is a game-changer for any organization.

As we’ve seen, AI isn’t going to replace your finance and accounting teams. Rather, it acts more like a partner, automating the minutiae of the day-to-day so your employees can focus more on high-value work that will give your company a competitive edge.

Planful Predict brings this cutting-edge technology right to the hands of CFOs.

Sign up for a demo to see Predict in action.

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