Digital Transformation » Technology » WATCH: Opening the door to visualisation and a better future

WATCH: Opening the door to visualisation and a better future

Ifty Nasir, founder and CFO of Vestd invited Darren Cran, chief operating officer at AccountsIQ, share insights on key trends within accountanting technology

Watch the full webinar here

When focused on the day job, it can be hard to keep up with technology trends. But change is coming and ground-breaking advances are set to revolutionise how finance professional’s work.

A recent webinar from AccountsIQ outlines these developments, providing a rapid deep dive.

In a recent webinar, The future of finance – transforming through the digital economy, data visualisation and AI, CEO of Vestd, Ifty Nasir and chartered accountant and digital transformation specialist, Darren Cran, from AccountsIQ, unpack the hot topic.

As conversations around AI continue to swarm the workplace, Nasir opens by asking Cran for his views on ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence chatbot that has hit the headlines, with accusations it facilitates cheating and may be a security threat. Cran says that this is the time to be “curious” and recommends everyone “dive in, open an account and play around with it.”

Cran advises looking beyond the hype and adds that being on the cloud was becoming essential – both in terms of security and better collaboration.

Translating the data tsunami

Cran says once the data is coded-up, this allows the creation of reports for customers, kept in a library and customised. He adds AI can improve working practices and reduce risk. “It will be useful for alerts, bringing attention to exceptions and anomalies.

This could be useful to stop fraud, so if there are changes to a supplier’s bank details, for example. Another advance is trends, allowing people to spot an indicator of something either positive or negative.”

Storytelling is an exciting AI development, continues Cran, allowing better connection with customers and colleagues through transforming data into graphics and images.

“Visualisation is one of the AI cornerstones, allowing highlighting of trends, a view of different dimensions – using these slices of a story can be really powerful.” This could mean picking up on a particular topic, such as geography or revenue, held within the data and using it graphically within a report or presentation.

Accountants can now harness the power of data visualisation through software solutions says Cran: “We’ve all heard ‘a picture is worth a thousand words and visualisation allows collaboration between people in different functions. Finance is the custodian of financial data, but they’ll be able to share knowledge easily with others.”

It means informed decisions can be made on the presented financial insights, driving success.

Nasir notes that financial data can be hard to interpret, but “visualisation will bring people together”. “It’s a more holistic way of working and will lead to better-informed decisions across the organisation,” he says.

Cran points out that visualisation tools such as Tableau, Qlik and Power BI can be used through an OData connector, while AccountsIQ are currently working on an embedding project. According to Cran, now is the time to ditch analogue.

“A digital-first world means the source is created digitally and stored and shared securely,” he says, while the use of APIs allows systems to connect and exchange data safely. He adds that there will also be more use of crypto accounting software.

“As the world becomes more digital, blockages are being taken away. Businesses will be always connected and automated, with technology handling transactions. Settlements will be managed automatically – people will not spend time on debtor lists and invoicing,” says Cran.

Getting the most out of AI

AccountsIQ already produces machine learning solutions that facilitate automation, and as Cran points out, AI takes this a step further, allowing more advanced work such as scenario planning.

Cran adds that the arrival of quantum computing will also be a transformation as it is vastly more powerful.

Even so, there remains concerns about AI and the ethics that surround it. Cran urged keeping a sense of perspective since finance is well regulated. “Most finance teams already have strong ethics and there’s a lot of self management,” he says.

Nevertheless, the question of whether AI exclusively favours large organisations arises. Cran asserts, “while prices continue to decrease, it is crucial to select tools that are suitable and not excessive, taking into account the volume of data you possess. Ultimately, the goal is to liberate individuals for more valuable tasks.”

There is also a consideration regarding the potential job displacement caused by AI.

Cran recalls a lecture by Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, where he discussed the advent of the fourth industrial age. Acknowledging that we are currently in the data era, Cran emphasises that AI will undoubtedly affect the financial services sector.

Carney shared the belief that while changes may result in job losses, they will also pave the way for the creation of numerous new opportunities. Those who are open to retraining will discover positive outcomes in this evolving landscape.

Watch the full webinar here

This article first appeared in The CFO’s sister publication, Accountancy Age.

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