Employing advanced technologies to transform finance

The role of "extreme automation" in enabling next-generation finance target models from KPMG's 1Q18 Global Insights Pulse Survey

1Q 2018 KPMG Global Insights Pulse Survey highlights

Finance’s top goals and initiatives in 2018–2019 continue to be cutting costs, reducing headcount, and contributing to and enabling cost reduction across the entire enterprise, according to the KPMG first-quarter 2018 Global Insights Pulse survey.  While important and most likely required, companies focused only on these reoccurring efficiency-oriented goals are just keeping up. By fixating on cost cutting, at the expense of innovation and transformation, finance will not secure its place as a strategic asset to the business.

The good news is that some 1Q18 survey participants see more companies reducing labor costs, driving efficiencies, and enabling staff to do more strategic work through their investments in intelligent automation (IA). Some companies are also reducing costs through increased use of data and analytics (D&A). Leveraging such key components of “extreme automation” (EA) will enable finance to avoid being, and being perceived as, a functional back-office cost center. 

The goals driving finance’s use of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) include improving its insightfulness and shifting work activities to more value-add and strategic activities, ultimately delivering value that extends far beyond decreased costs and increased efficiency. 

While uptake is in its infancy and business use cases are limited, now is the time for finance to:

  • Gain an understanding of the different technologies — ML, AI, robotic  process automation (RPA), D&A, and cognitive computing (CC)
  • Learn the nuances
  • Seek appropriate applications against which to deploy
  • Plan for implementation and ongoing governance and management.