Challenges of AI are many but rewards are worth it – Gilles Bonelli

Gilles Bonelli is CEO and Founder of See The Next Move​, which specialises in digital finance transformation across various sectorsGilles Bonelli is CEO and Founder of See The Next Move​, which specialises in digital finance transformation across various sectors
Gilles Bonelli is CEO and Founder of See The Next Move​, which specialises in digital finance transformation across various sectors
Wise finance leaders in Scotland and beyond are embracing the possibilities of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaking up the finance world, presenting both challenges and opportunities for finance leaders. As someone working in finance, I see both the hurdles and the immense potential that AI holds for our industry.

A survey conducted by Ceres Resourcing Ltd and See The Next Move Ltd shows that AI ranks among the top ten challenges for finance leaders today. This is a sign of the times, as finance functions deal with many issues like rising costs, cybersecurity threats and changing regulations. Yet, fewer than 10 per cent of finance leaders are actively training their teams in AI, highlighting a big gap between understanding AI's importance and taking steps to use it.

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The study reveals that 69 per cent of finance leaders are starting to address AI, but they're at different stages. Many finance leaders are just exploring what AI can do, while a smaller number have started using AI in specific areas. For example, only 12 per cent have implemented some form of AI. This cautious approach makes sense given the complexities and risks of AI, but it also shows the need for more effort to get ready for AI.

Some finance leaders are understandably wary of the risks of AI (Picture: Adobe)Some finance leaders are understandably wary of the risks of AI (Picture: Adobe)
Some finance leaders are understandably wary of the risks of AI (Picture: Adobe)

Despite the slow pace of adoption, several promising uses for AI in finance are emerging. These include:

  • Spend Analytics & Misstatement Detection: AI tools like HunterAI analyse spending data, identify patterns and detect errors, aiding financial accuracy and compliance.
  • Financial Reporting: Tools such as IBM Watson use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automate the extraction and checking of financial data, making reporting easier.
  • Budgeting & Forecasting: Predictive models like Arima help project financial performance and allocate budgets more accurately.
  • Tax Compliance & Planning: Machine learning tools within platforms like Thomson Reuters Onesource help manage tax compliance by analysing changes in regulations and optimising tax strategies.
  • Investment Analysis: AI algorithms, such as decision trees and random forests, evaluate financial risks and opportunities, aiding in investment decisions.

As finance leaders, we are at a crossroads. The need to integrate AI into our operations is clear, but the journey is challenging. The survey highlights an important point: while many understand the importance of AI, there is a noticeable hesitation to fully embrace it. This is where collaboration and learning come in. Connecting with industry experts and using platforms like See The Next Move can provide the needed support to develop strong AI strategies. From my perspective, the slow pace of AI adoption is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it shows the cautious nature of the finance industry, which is wise given the potential risks. On the other hand, it highlights the need for a change in mindset. Embracing AI isn't just about keeping up with technology; it’s about transforming how we work, make decisions and create value.

The future of finance is closely tied to AI. As we navigate this journey, let’s stay committed to learning and open to the transformative potential AI offers. The path may be challenging, but the rewards of a well-executed AI strategy are immense, promising not only improved efficiency and accuracy but also a competitive edge in a rapidly changing world.