How AI is Transforming Transactional Finance Roles and the Importance of Upskilling

Glenn Fyfe our consultant managing the role
Author: Glenn Fyfe
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising many aspects of business, including the transactional finance function. Teams, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, credit control, and payroll are being redefined by AI, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and enhanced strategic decision-making. 
However, this transformation also raises questions about team streamlining and the future of managerial training. Upskilling becomes essential for current staff to adapt and progress in their careers. 
So, how is AI transforming transactional finance roles?

Accounts payable

AI-powered automation is streamlining processes by handling tasks such as invoice processing, approval workflows, and payment executions. Intelligent Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can read and process invoices, reducing manual data entry errors and speeding up the approval process. Machine learning algorithms can identify discrepancies and flag potential fraud, enhancing the security and accuracy of financial transactions.

Accounts Receivable

 AI is enhancing accounts receivable by automating invoice generation, delivery, and follow-ups. Predictive analytics can forecast payment behaviours, helping businesses manage cash flow more effectively. AI-driven chatbots can interact with customers to resolve billing issues and answer queries, improving customer satisfaction and accelerating payment collection.

Credit Control

Credit control benefits from AI through automated credit scoring and risk assessment. Machine learning models analyse vast amounts of data to predict creditworthiness and monitor existing credit lines for signs of potential default. This enables more informed lending decisions and proactive risk management.

Payroll

AI is optimising payroll processes by automating salary calculations, tax deductions, and compliance reporting. AI systems can ensure timely and accurate payments while adhering to complex regulatory requirements. Additionally, AI can analyse workforce data to offer insights into labour costs and optimize staffing levels.

The Importance of Upskilling

As AI automates routine tasks, the role of supervisors and managers in finance is evolving. Current transactional staff must adapt to stay relevant. Upskilling is essential for career progression in this evolving landscape. By gaining new skills and competencies, transactional staff can transition into more strategic roles and take advantage of new opportunities created by AI advancements.

Key Areas for Upskilling

Technical Proficiency

  • AI and Automation Tools: Learning how to use AI-powered software for tasks such as invoice processing, predictive analytics, and payroll management.

Data Analysis

  • Gaining skills in data analysis and interpretation to make sense of AI-generated insights.

Financial Analysis and Reporting

  • Understanding financial statements, metrics, and KPIs
  • Enhancing abilities in financial forecasting and budgeting

Project Management

  • Learning project management methodologies to oversee AI implementation projects.
  • Developing skills to manage cross-functional teams and drive change initiatives.

Soft skills

  • Critical Thinking:  Enhancing problem-solving abilities and strategic thinking.

Communication

  • Improving skills to effectively communicate complex data and AI-driven insights to stakeholders.

Ethics and Compliance

  • Understanding the ethical considerations and regulatory requirements associated with AI in finance
  • Ensuring that AI implementations adhere to legal standards and promote transparency

Steps to Begin Upskilling

Self-Assessment: Identify current skill gaps and areas for improvement. Set clear career goals and determine which skills are needed to achieve them.

Seek Educational Opportunities: Enrol in relevant courses and certifications, such as data analytics, AI in finance, and project management. Utilize online learning platforms (e.g., Coursera, edX, LinkedIn Learning) that offer courses on these topics.

Leverage Workplace Resources: Participate in training programs and workshops offered by employers. Engage in cross-training opportunities to gain exposure to distinct functions within the finance department.

Network and Mentorship: Join professional organizations and attend industry conferences to stay informed about trends and best practices. 

Seek mentorship from experienced colleagues or industry professionals who can provide guidance and support.

Practical Experience: Apply new skills in real-world scenarios by volunteering for projects or initiatives within the organization. Take on additional responsibilities that allow for the application of newly acquired knowledge.

The Future of Managerial Training

For managers, the future will require a blend of technical expertise, analytical skills, and leadership capabilities. Training programs will emphasise data analysis and interpretation, familiarity with AI tools, change management, and ethical considerations. Continuous learning will be essential to stay updated on the latest AI developments and best practices.

Conclusion

AI is fundamentally reshaping transactional roles in finance, driving efficiency and accuracy while reducing the need for manual intervention. While this may lead to redundancy in certain job functions, it also opens up new opportunities for professionals to engage in higher-level strategic tasks. 
Upskilling is crucial for transactional staff to stay relevant and advance their careers. By focusing on technical proficiency, financial analysis, project management, and soft skills, employees can transition into more strategic roles and bring greater value to their organisations. With the right training, managers can navigate this evolving landscape, harnessing AI's potential to drive innovation and business growth.

Explore transactional finance jobs with Marks Sattin 

Our part-qualified and transactional division is one of our most established teams in the business. They have the in-depth market knowledge and expertise to place high-quality candidates across a variety of sectors including retail, FMCG, telecoms, media, technology, property, construction, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, legal, travel and tourism. 

If you are looking to recruit or be hired as an accounts payable or receivable professional, then explore our finance and accounting division at Marks Sattin.


24/06/24
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