How Planful Delivers AI-Enhanced Finance

Financial performance management is a team sport, and every player must run the same play to win.

Our customers frequently point out Planful’s benefits of better collaboration, faster access to more accurate information, and their ability to raise the financial IQ of the entire business.

Why? Because financial performance management is a team sport, and every player must run the same play to win.

Teams aren’t just made up of starting players, however. Every world champion has people who coach, take over when a star is injured, play on the practice squad, manage the equipment, run payroll, interface with the media, and more.

But, even with an entire team, finance teams today are likely playing shorthanded due to talent shortages and demands to take on more responsibilities. Artificial intelligence (AI) is here to help.

Why does Finance need AI?

Your team is becoming more and more distracted by business complexity.

Changes to the playing field — economic, competitive, regulatory, etc. — require more speed and agility to improve reaction times. And, errors, lack of transparency, and manual effort add to the process friction and your frustrations.

AI and generative AI (Gen AI) are now at the “peak of inflated expectations,” according to Gartner. And the AI use case extends well beyond just the Office of the CFO.

  • Sales teams use AI to listen in on sales calls and offer conversion improvements.
  • Marketing teams use AI to improve content clarity and conciseness in blog posts.
  • People teams use AI to better engage with top candidates.

It’s time for CFOs and finance teams to embrace AI alongside their non-finance counterparts.

To be clear, AI is much more than a trend or buzzword. When applied strategically, it holds tremendous potential to transform the way FP&A operates for the better.

Within finance, the subset of AI called machine learning (ML) predicts values, finds patterns, determines relationships, and more by analysing and learning from relevant data.

Think of how your phone identifies the faces in a photo. To overly simplify the technology, ML has analysed countless images to compare and recognize facial contours and expressions. ML can do the same with financial data, too.

Planful’s proprietary approach to AI for finance

At Planful, our vision is to provide a complete, off-the-shelf AI solution for structured and dynamic planning use cases. We’re bringing that vision to life by working to augment everything in Planful with AI and ML so our customers can make more informed decisions across the
business.

Planful customers already use AI/ML in our Planful Predict suite of native, purpose-built solutions for finance AI/ML products.

How Planful harnesses AI sets us apart from others in the financial performance management space because our in-house experts understand the real frustrations faced by finance teams. Our tool is purpose-built for AI to tackle complex technical needs.

Here are just a few challenges to creating a credible AI-powered solution for finance:

  • Data insufficiency: More than a few years of data is needed to render accurate AI-driven predictions.
  • One size does not fit all: Many AI technology developers sell solutions that aren’t specifically built for finance.
  • Productization: Many AI solutions are tacked-on components or outsourced rather than embedded into a purpose-built finance platform using proprietary technology and expertise.

We’re solving these three challenges and more with Predict.

Predict automates the discovery of anomalies and missing data, projects sales, budget, and
other forecasts to pressure-test assumptions, and drastically simplifies and accelerates planning
for folks in the business while increasing accuracy.

Predict goes further in how it understands financial data to improve seasonality assumptions, spot potential errors before they make it into the plan, and reduce review cycles.

Where Predict really shines is with a feedback loop that improves effectiveness over time. As customers evaluate Predict outputs, the underlying AI/ML gets better and better, saving the customer more and more time. That’s not just for finance and accounting teams but for the business and budget owners who can quickly build intelligent projections with fewer errors and more fidelity to actual business performance.

How Planful AI delivers speed and scalability for finance teams Planful’s AI/ML capabilities are critical for identifying anomalies in financial data, reducing manual effort, and increasing trust in the data, which all combine to slash FP&A cycle times.

The added confidence then lets finance teams focus more on delivering insights and guidance
to the business. When Rocket Software invested in Planful, the company was able to use Predict to spot potential errors in data and create hyper-accurate forecasts.

“Planful Predict looks at our historical data and highlights anomalies where our inputs might not match with those historical trends,” says Luis Martinez, Sr. Manager, FP&A at Rocket Software. “It is a great way to pressure test our assumptions and add value to our decision-making.”

With Predict handling the heavy lifting, Luis is able to focus on making strong financial decisions to support the company’s growth. Plus, thanks to Planful’s user-friendly interface, non-finance staff at Rocket Software can also create precise forecasts quickly and easily.

It’s a common joke that AI is here to steal your job, the same as with spreadsheets in the 80s. What’s becoming clear again, just as in those Miami Vice days, is that technology won’t replace you, but a person using it might.

Check out Planful on our Tech 100.

Author

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Planful
Guest Author

Planful delivers Continuous Planning by accelerating the end-to-end FP&A process and fostering business-wide participation in agile planning and decision-making.

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