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How AI is automating everything you thought you knew

Not long ago, the notion of artificial intelligence (AI) belonged solely to the realm of science fiction.

Today, however, generative AI is rapidly permeating the business landscape, with more than 3,000 generative AI tools now available for businesses of all sizes to leverage. (1) Deloitte predicts that by 2030, Australian companies will increase their investment in AI tools sevenfold compared to 2023, with the number of daily users expected to double within the next five years. (2) 

This surge in adoption of automation has far-reaching consequences, particularly for finance teams. Generative AI is revolutionising tasks such as fraud detection, risk assessments, software development, and customer service. Studies suggest that by 2030, nearly one-third of all task hours could be automated. (3) 

Australian businesses overwhelmingly view this shift as a positive development, with 79 per cent of leaders foreseeing generative AI as the catalyst for industrial and organisational transformation over the next three years. Furthermore, 72 per cent of executive leaders express ‘excitement’ as their primary sentiment towards generative AI, exceeding the global average by 11 per cent. (4) 

This enthusiasm for generative AI is well-founded, as it addresses key, and often costly, issues faced by businesses of all sizes. The integration of generative AI into travel and expense (T&E) management is a significant advancement for business leaders and finance teams. Traditional methods of managing T&E are often manual, time-consuming, and prone to human error, which can lead to inefficiencies, financial discrepancies, and unresolved or undetected fraud. In contrast, generative AI introduces automation, data analysis, and predictive capabilities that overhaul these processes. 

Executive leaders can leverage generative AI to monitor T&E, optimise budget allocation, and analyse spending patterns. This automation streamlines decision-making, alleviates administrative burdens on finance teams, and bolsters fraud detection in T&E claims. With robust data gathering and analysis tools in place and data-intensive tasks automated, finance teams can dedicate more time to identifying irregularities and potential fraud, thereby mitigating risks and averting penalties during audit season. Furthermore, automation aligned with current processes and regulations ensures data compliance with corporate and regulatory standards. 

To maximise the benefits of generative AI, businesses must foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning to keep up with evolving AI technologies and their applications in finance. Business leaders should also invest in training to ensure that team members are adept at using AI-powered tools and interpreting the data and insights generated by these systems. Moreover, maintaining data hygiene is critical, as the quality of the insights provided by generative AI hinges on the quality and relevance of the underlying data. 

Collaboration between finance and IT departments is critical for the seamless integration of AI solutions into existing systems, safeguarding security and compliance. Finance teams should regularly review and adjust policies and processes to align with the capabilities and insights provided by AI, ensuring that the business is well-positioned to leverage the full potential of AI. 

The journey of generative AI is merely commencing. Forward-thinking executive leaders are already leveraging AI-based tools to improve workflows and decision-making processes. By incorporating AI into operations, finance teams can be liberated from mundane, repetitive tasks, enabling them to redirect their focus towards high-value work.

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Fabian Calle

Fabian Calle

Fabian Calle is the managing director for small and medium business (SMB) at SAP Concur, Australia and New Zealand. With his extensive experience working with SMBs in the computer software industry, Fabian understands the business challenges that SMBs face and how leveraging technologies can streamline business processes.

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