CFOs need to experiment with cognitive tech - Deloitte


Cognitive technologies have been adopted in other areas of business, inspiring finance to start learning about them, experimenting with them, and figuring out how to use them

Deloitte has launched the third instalment of its Crunch Time report – The CFO’s guide to cognitive technology, articulating that cognitive technology is already being used in the Legal and HR fields and it’s beginning to reshape Finance. Moreover, smart machines are on the rise everywhere. We see them in customer experience, product development, manufacturing and operations.

Crunch Time III acknowledges that even consumers are experiencing smart machines in their everyday lives, from driving directions on a smart phone to music playlists, personal fitness and more – the cognitive future has arrived. CFO’s, however, have remained on the side-lines, sceptical that cognitive could boost the performance of the finance function. In fact, in Deloitte’s latest quarterly survey, only 42% of surveyed CFO’s said their teams are familiar with such emerging technologies.

CFO’s, however, need to acknowledge that cognitive technologies have been adopted in other areas of business and it should inspire Finance to start learning about them, experimenting with them, and figuring out how to use them. At the core the goal, as with any finance technology initiative, is to create a more efficient, insightful and controlled Finance function.

The report highlights that five cognitive tools are ascendant in Finance and each can be used independently, or in combination with others. These tools are: machine learning, robotic cognitive automation, natural language processing (NLP), natural language generation (NLG) and speech recognition. 

On the flipside of the coin it’s understandable that many CFO’s are concerned about the impact of cognitive technologies on people. Automation in many shared services centres, for example, is already driving headcount reductions – a trend that is likely to accelerate.

To stay ahead, some CFO’s have noted that they are using this opportunity to identify individuals who are looking to expand their skills and become true business-minded partners. Additionally, they are also looking to identify the next generation of leaders who will drive these changes to reshape how finance work gets done.

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