How AI is transforming cash flow forecasting
Back in 2007, the arrival of cloud accounting software signalled a huge step-change for accountants. With artificial intelligence (AI), we're entering the next phase in accounting history, adding huge benefits and transforming the way that accountants work once again.
You may already use an AI-powered tool in your practice already. Take data capture and optical character recognition (OCR) software like Receipt Bank, which uses AI to recognise text within scanned documents, taking away much of the pain of expenses management.
What is AI?
The term ‘AI’ is a broad one, covering a range of techniques from rule-following systems to machine learning, in which algorithms learn from data.
AI is nothing new. In fact, it's a concept that’s been around since the 1950s. The only reason it has taken hold in recent years is the combination of vastly improved computer processing power and an explosion of data, which have made AI a practical reality.
With this new dawn, a steady stream of commercial applications have emerged. Just as electricity completely changed the way we approach areas like manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare, AI is transforming almost every industry.
Despite the shift brought on by AI, cashflow forecasting is often delivered using traditional methods. Most accountants build cashflow forecasts using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, which can be time-consuming, quickly out of date and far from cost-effective.
With AI, it’s possible to automate the entire process of modelling a forecast, and generate an accurate prediction in minutes, rather than hours. Fluidly is carving out this revolutionary approach to cashflow management, called Intelligent Cashflow, which helps businesses and their advisors look further ahead and create more space for decision-making.
Intelligent Cashflow makes it possible to tackle cashflow as a whole, by generating a forecast that’s always current and drilling into transaction-level detail, rather than keeping cashflow confined to the humble spreadsheet.
It works like an autopilot, continuously monitoring, optimising and providing alerts to what’s coming ahead. Importantly, autopilots don’t replace pilots, they assist them. They allow a plane to fly straight and level without a pilot’s constant attention, greatly reducing their workload.
In the same way, AI doesn't replace an accountant’s expertise; it merely takes on some of the heavy data lifting, so they can focus on delivering strategic advice. The next generation of cashflow services will empower accountants to pay more attention to clients’ problems, make better informed decisions and equip their clients for the future.
Just as cloud technology has recast the accounting landscape, AI is set to boost the way accounting firms operate. With its help, businesses and their advisors can go beyond answering ‘What?’ has happened, and move into the more complex questions of ‘So what?’ and ‘Now what?’.
Most of all, AI-driven cashflow software can supercharge the support accountants offer their clients. New technology like AI provides the opportunity to build a 360-degree view of cashflow, so that firms can provide best-in-class advice.