Today we are excited to announce the general availability of finance insights, a set of AI-powered capabilities that help customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance improve the efficiency and quality of financial processes by leveraging intelligent automation.
Reshaping corporate financial management
A core set of financial management processes and systems support the work of every organization. Yet, while digital transformation has significantly impacted business solutions in workloads like commerce, manufacturing, and warehousing, not much has changed for financial processes, at least by comparison.
At Microsoft, we believe AI and intelligent automation will transform financial workloads. Just as Microsoft Excel transformed finance departments following its release over thirty years ago, AI and machine learning are positioned to reshape corporate financial management–making routine and error-prone tasks more efficient, focused, and accurate.
Learn more in our blog: Improve efficiency and quality with AI-infused finance processes or in the webinar, Reshape the Future of Financials Through AI.
Applying AI in finance
Finance professionals have heard a lot about the promise of AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA) in recent years. However, what has been missing from the discussion were concrete examples of where to apply these emerging technologies to drive higher value outcomes and improve our business and financial processes. Finance insights bridge this gap with customer payment insights, cash flow forecasting, and intelligent budget proposals.
“Our Global Risk Officer at SOLEVO wanted to have more insights on customer payments, especially to take automatic actions based on the historical analysis for each customer. We hope that finance insights can help us setup a more proactive process and help him getting a better overview.”—Martin Sengel, CIO of SOLEVO Group.
Customer payment insights
Finance insights customer SOLEVO has been a leading distributor of chemicals and inputs for specific industrial and agricultural segments in Africa for over seventy years. SOLEVO became interested in finance insights as means of providing management with an improved understanding of customer payments. Specifically, they wanted to automate actions based on historical customer data analysis and use these insights to set up a more proactive collections process.
Traditionally, it has been a challenge for businesses to predict when customers will pay their invoices. This lack of insight leads to less accurate cash flow forecasts, collection processes that start too late, and orders released to customers who may default on the payment.
But what if organizations were able to predict if a customer would pay their invoice on time? Or if they will pay it late?
Customer payment insights empower organizations to predict when an invoice will be paid by applying machine learning to financial data. This new capability enables Dynamics 365 Finance to learn from historical invoices, payments, and customer data and is nothing short of transformative for the collection process.
Customer payments insights effectively shift the collection process from reactive to proactive by allowing companies to act on data-driven, AI-derived predictions to proactively automate the task of following up with at-risk customers.
Cash flow forecasting
Cash flow is critical to every business. Even profitable companies can become insolvent by failing to maintain the cash flow required to fund operations. The cash flow forecasting capability in finance insights help companies avoid this undesirable outcome by more effectively monitoring and managing their cash balances.
Intelligent cash flow forecasting enables automatic integration from external systems and reports and uses machine learning to help businesses forecast cash flows more accurately than was previously possible. With more accurate forecasts, managers make more effective decisions, optimizing opportunities within the context of their current cash position. Intelligent cash flow forecasting also enables automatic integration from external systems and reports.
Using time-series, cash flow forecasting in combination with customer payment predictions improves overall cash flow accuracy. The ability to save cash flow forecasts and compare against actual financial results further enables organizations to measure forecast performance and prepare more accurate forecasts in the future.
Intelligent budget proposals
Organizations spend a significant amount of time and resources preparing budgets. Much of this time is spent scrubbing historical data to enable an accurate view of history, a repetitive and low-value add process.
Budget proposals help alleviate much of this work by providing a streamlined mechanism to prepare multiple years of history, analyze the data, and predict what the budget or forecast should look like based on what has happened over time.
Learn more in our recent blog: How finance leaders can leverage intelligent automation to unleash innovation.
Finance insights brings AI and automation functionality to Dynamics 365 Finance to enable data and outcome-driven finance. It is a true game-changer, redefining transactional finance and empowering data and outcome-driven finance. As we have seen here, this is accomplished by effectively leveraging AI, machine learning, and intelligent automation in an interrelated set of three new financial management tools: customer payment insights, cash flow forecasting, and budget proposals.
These tools will allow finance organizations to drive better business decision-making by providing new AI-driven business insights that are clearer and faster while also improving operational efficiency by utilizing intelligent automation. At Microsoft, we are truly excited to make these transformational capabilities available and look forward to adding additional features to finance insights soon.
Dynamics 365 Finance is a leading provider of financial management solutions in the product-centric, cloud-based enterprise resource planning market. Our goal is to make Dynamics 365 Finance the most intelligently automated financial management solution available, and with finance insights, we have moved one step closer.
If you are already a Dynamics 365 Finance user, you can learn more about getting started with finance insights by checking out the finance insights support documentation or by watching the webinar, Reshape the Future of Financials Through AI.
We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!