Our Future of Finance and Accounting blog series is designed to prepare finance teams at midsize companies and nonprofit organizations for changes in regulations, best practices, and technologies that will impact finance and accounting departments.
In our first "A Realistic Look at Future Accounting Technologies" post, we talked about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and in our second post we discussed Artificial Intelligence (AI). In today’s post, we will address how finance teams can prepare for AI. While many applications of these technologies aren’t readily available to the mid-market today, there are several important strategies that, as stewards of your organization’s financial information, you can focus on now in order to prepare for these future technologies.
Specific Ways Your Organization Can Prepare for Future Technologies
Capture your dataThe most important thing to understand is that having access to large amounts of data is the key to utilizing the future business intelligence of AI. AI needs to train itself to provide accurate business insight. Pay attention to the data you have. Is it all saved somewhere? Is it structured? How clean is it? Are you connecting as many systems as you can?
Amazon, Google, Facebook and other hugely successful companies have realized the power of their data, and use it to incredible advantage. Midmarket organizations haven't yet tapped into the potential value of their data on such a scale. But the more you prepare now, the better positioned your organization will be when these technologies become more broadly available.
Invest in open API systemsThe future of business systems is connectedness, with real-time data transfer between key systems of record within the business. As you invest in the future, make sure the business systems you choose are designed to support open APIs so that as much of your data as possible is accessible from each system, ideally into your financial system of record where AI tools can process that data and support your business.
Determine where RPA can provide valueThere may be cases where you can't afford to replace legacy systems for cloud applications with open APIs. Maybe it's too costly or maybe the legacy system is part of your core business offering. RPA can be useful is this situation. RPA tools allow you to automate processes where data can be moved from one system to another by mimicking an actual human's keystrokes, copy-paste functions, and more.
While less efficient and more fragile than API integrations, RPA can still lead to real efficiencies in your organization, and it can extend the shelf life of systems that don’t currently have strong APIs. But make sure that as you replace systems, you maximize your ability to automate the sharing of all that valuable data across your organization.
Look for the bottlenecksWhere are the data silos in your organization? What systems aren't connected by API or can't be and what plans do you have for getting the data to flow properly? Actively identify and replace systems that don’t serve your organization by creating, collecting, and connecting your business data. Even data the initially seems tangential to your core mission may end up leading to real insights when connected with the rest of your financial and operational information.
Buy systems designed for the futureBe a futurist! Get your organization prepared today, and look for software providers that are incorporating machine learning and artificial intelligence, democratizing these new technologies for the mid-market. Quality cloud business software companies know they have to incorporate these new technologies into their products or they will be left behind.
When you're buying new software, ask about open APIs. Ask vendors to illustrate their AI roadmap. Make sure they have a plan to incorporate these technologies into their product, and have specific features already incorporating them.
We are a Sage Intacct reseller and it is the system we rely on for our own business. We are bought-in to Sage Intacct because of the power of its platform. Sage Intacct has a publicly documented API for integration with your other key business systems. It also has the ability to incorporate operational information from across the organization and combine it with financial data. Intacct is making major investments in the future of AI in its software, with features such as anomaly detection, human augmentation, natural language, and machine learning. We are thrilled to be partners with Sage Intacct in our mission to deliver the future of finance and accounting.
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AcctTwo is focused on delivering the future of finance and accounting to our customers. AcctTwo has three main solutions – Cloud-based Accounting Software, Managed Accounting Services, and Software Development, all built around Sage Intacct’s best-in-class financial applications. Our dedicated team of over 100 people has helped more than 800 organizations optimize finance and accounting through software implementations, accounting outsourcing, and consulting. AcctTwo has been recognized by Sage Intacct as its Partner of the Year from 2014 – 2018 and by our customers as a leader in overall satisfaction and popularity through their reviews on G2 Crowd.
AcctTwo is headquartered in Houston, Texas and has been named Sage Intacct’s overall Partner of the Year from 2014 through 2018. For more information, please visit www.accttwo.com or call 713-744-8400.