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Author's profile photo Natalie Patterson

3 Ways CFOs can Capitalize on AI in Finance

Over the past few years, CFOs have been challenged like never before to manage costs through supply chain constraints, inventory issues, inflation, currency fluctuation, regulations and more. They’re often relied upon to identify where costs can be optimized, resources re-allocated, and margins protected to be prepared to capitalize on new market opportunities.  CFO’s are also increasingly enlisted in sustainability efforts, such as the green ledger.

Consequently, CFOs are looking for innovative technology to free their teams from routine tasks and arm them with greater foresight and control to increase productivity.

We are here to help CFO’s with our unique approach to AI.

At SAP, we deliver AI that is built into the SAP applications that power your most critical business processes. It works for your entire business because it is developed using extensive industry-specific data and deep process knowledge. Organizations can use it with confidence as it is created using responsible AI practices. In essence, SAP AI is AI built for business.

How to Turn AI Potential into Reality for Finance Departments

With AI-powered insights, recommendations, and automation built into your SAP applications, you can reap the rewards of AI by simply activating intelligent capabilities inside your existing applications. In a nutshell, you take advantage of AI that is designed to work with your data and business processes from the get-go.


Benefits of AI in Finance

For example, you can use AI to automate tedious tasks such as inputting invoices, tracking receivables, and logging payment transactions without requiring constant manual rule updates. AI can help you evaluate new business opportunities by enabling you to use scenario-based, iterative planning and forecasting in real time. Plus, you can leverage AI to proactively enforce policies and data quality standards, lowering your data disclosure risks and simplifying compliance. You can also use powerful predictive analytics models to devise payment and collection strategies. Plus, AI-powered business integrity screening and access governance further enhance your security and compliance.

Let’s look in more detail at three ways CFOs can quickly capitalize on AI with SAP.

1. Grow Efficiency with AI-infused Business Processes

Leveraging business AI embedded in your finance applications can dramatically increase the productivity of your finance teams. Take the example of Accenture. The company issues more than half a million client-facing invoices each year from 200 locations globally – and that volume is projected to increase exponentially every five years. By leveraging intelligence built into SAP Cash Application and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the company can match invoices and payments faster, with fewer errors, and has increased its automatic clearing rate by more than 24%.

Connecting AI to your business processes maximizes the value of your digitalization investments because automation and predictions can take advantage of transactional data and the business context in which that data is used. For example, when an accountant creates a journal entry, the AI capabilities in SAP S/4HANA Cloud can automatically retrieve pertinent information, such cost centers or profit centers, to fill in mandatory fields, speeding up data entry and avoiding errors.

A close connection between AI and business processes can also ensure that AI-based predictions and recommendations remain accurate over time. When AI capabilities are embedded into business processes, algorithms can more easily recognize changing business patterns, learn from human exception handling, and recommend retraining when performance can improve. Since AI algorithms automatically learn from past experiences, you no longer need to manually update obsolete rules to get accurate automation and insights.


SAP Cash Application in SAP S/4HANA reduces manual post-processing of incoming bank statements by applying machine learning to match open receivables to incoming bank statement items, and to intelligently extract relevant information from payment advice documents and use them for the matching and clearing process.

2. Enable Business Foresight with AI-powered Predictive Insights

Increasingly our customers want to steer business strategy based on forward-looking insights. AI-powered insights capture and adjust to business events as they happen, helping your organization become more proactive.

For example, with business AI in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud, treasury departments can anticipate future liquidity needs to make timely investment decisions. You take advantage of predictive analytics that help you mitigate liquidity risks by leveraging operating activities, such as invoice payment dates, historical transactional data trends, and external market data. The resulting insights improve the accuracy of mid-to-long-term liquidity forecasts and help you optimize investments despite high market volatility and changing business patterns.

3. Enhance Security and Compliance with AI-powered policy enforcement

We all know that finance processes and reporting must align with growing industry, government, and tax regulations. And, with today’s stringent privacy requirements, it is equally important to preserve data privacy and protect data access.

For example, business AI embedded in SAP governance, compliance, and risk management solutions can detect errors as financial transactions are processed and propose remedies based on past successful interventions. And system administrators can leverage AI in SAP Cloud Identity Access Governance to define fine-grained access rights that factor in users’ roles and functional responsibilities, improving productivity and mitigating compliance risks.

To learn more about leveraging SAP AI in your finance department, visit the Finance with SAP AI page on and read our latest report.

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