Paper Pushing Meets Financial Pattern Recognition: an SAP Concur Podcast Conversation with Oversight

Finance has always been at the forefront of the digital revolution. No, really. Finance teams are some of the first ones that began using a graphical user interface and servers to manage business expenses. Now, they’re leaning into technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create context for spending and to identify financial patterns.

What’s next for finance? It depends on the steps finance teams decide to take now. Mike Eberhard, Board Member of Oversight, and Chris Juneau, Chief Marketing and Product Officer of Oversight, spoke with Jeanne Dion, Director of the Value Delivery Group at SAP Concur, about how technology is helping finance and accounting shape their future.

You can listen to this episode on Apple | Amazon | Spotify | Listen Notes | Acast | Google or read the transcript.

 

Taking a seat at the adult’s table

Although finance professionals have always been a critical part of organizations, they’ve often been viewed solely as tactical employees who make phone calls and push paper to ensure that the organization’s finances are in order.

This viewpoint is quickly changing with the use of software as a service (SaaS). Dion says that with SaaS, these same professionals can prove two major things to their organizations:

  1. They have a deep enough understanding of technology that helps them implement it quickly and support it with a much lighter IT lift.
  2. They can use technology to create new, valuable solutions inside finance.

Dion says that SaaS has helped organizations see their finance teams as more strategic partners and innovators. According to Dion, SaaS is also helping finance get more control over how things are implemented, configured, and automated. She notes, “[It’s] really incredibly empowering for me as a finance leader.”

The patterns are coming!

Juneau says that because SaaS and AI can work well together, finance teams are finding new ways to focus on what’s important within their own processes – whether it’s business continuity, time savings in closing books, or compliance.

“Human beings aren’t ideally suited for pattern matching across vast amounts of data,” Juneau says. “AI could be liberating to finance professionals.”

Identifying patterns early could also help organizations protect themselves from fraudulent behavior, Dion points out. Without technology like AI, she says it can take up to 14 months to identify this type of behavior. That’s not ideal in times of economic uncertainty, where this type of behavior can skyrocket.

“Having something that could be automated and really check those patterns,” Dion says, “is really powerful for an organization.”

Fix the back to fix the front

Back-office processes can sometimes be the Achille’s heel that slows down or prevents organizations from completing a full digital transformation. With all this technology at hand, Eberhard says there’s an immediate opportunity for finance teams to evaluate their back-office processes and make changes, perhaps in expenses or payables.

“That’s a perfect spot to automate because I think that’s been ignored for 20 years,” he says.

This intersection of process efficiency and scalability has become even more prominent during a pandemic with a decentralized workforce, Eberhard notes. And that can help in a digital transformation.

“[It enables] those professionals to do their job more effectively,” he says, “and to focus on the bigger strategic issues in their organization versus focusing on the health of their financial processes.”

 

Find out how you can leverage the collaboration between SAP Concur and Oversight. Learn more about the Concur Detect by Oversight app.  

 

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