by Rohit Gupta, Forbes Councils Member
January 25, 2023, 07:15am ET
As we enter the new year, it’s worth considering the potential developments and disruptions that could shape the financial landscape in 2023 and beyond. AI, automation and new, more proactive modes of employee hiring and retention are poised to be trends that shape the new year and finance and accounting departments.
Are you ready for the changes ahead? Here are my top predictions for corporate finance for this year.
1. Finance embraces intelligent applications.
For automation to help solve complex finance and accounting challenges, it must incorporate the latest technology. In 2023, as more applications move into the cloud, a new breed of data-centric apps will take center stage in finance.
These “intelligent apps” will have built-in contextual intelligence, conversational AI and co-piloting capabilities to drive business processes and support users to achieve the highest productivity levels. In fact, I predict intelligent applications will be embraced by finance departments in 2023, removing the majority of routine and mundane business processes.
2. Finance BPOs reframe and re-architect their value proposition.
Traditional finance business process outsourcing providers have long used a cost optimization approach as part of their business models. But with significant increases in staff attrition and decreases in productivity seen over the pandemic years, BPOs now realize that legacy models must be reimagined.
In 2023, this re-imagining will likely look like a multiyear re-architecture of core value propositions, with newly defined cost models that are heavily technology-driven. A new, emerging breed of BPOs will challenge traditional players with these modern approaches. The BPOs that move toward a more digital approach focused on transparency, customer experience and brand trust will be duly rewarded.
3. FinOps will become a mainstream part of finance.
FinOps, which was once a part of cloud cost management and optimization, is poised to become an integral part of budgeting, planning and other finance workstreams. In FinOps, finance, operations, DevOps and other departments work collaboratively to share responsibility for cloud computing infrastructure and costs.
FinOps drives maximum business value, especially as many enterprises’ cloud computing costs continue to rise. But beyond the practicality of the FinOps methodology, at its core, FinOps is also a cultural philosophy designed to bring an attitude of financial accountability to an enterprise and enable trade-offs between the speed, cost and quality of cloud architecture and other key financial decisions.
In the new year, if your organization wants to maximize teamwork, responsibility and the financial management of your cloud infrastructure, a modern FinOps approach will be fundamental.
4. AI-based automation will become a strategic advantage for finance.
While AI was once seen as “cool,” it has transformed to become a strategic advantage for companies looking to stay one step ahead of the competition. AI-based automation transforms the finance office into a modern, efficient digital engine, thanks to cloud-based intelligent applications that help streamline general and administrative costs and increase productivity.
Expect AI to revitalize and revamp finance in critical areas, including data extraction, encryption, threat protection, statistical and predictive forecasting and planning, and process automation.
5. Finance will need to fight for quality talent.
The demand for financial professionals is at an all-time high, and continued business growth is set to create an even more competitive recruitment market. In fact, the labor demand, measured as employment plus job openings, exceeds workers by about 5 million, according to a recent study.
Unfortunately, there’s also a shortage of skilled professionals, which is turning up the heat on enterprises looking to hire and keep top talent. Plus, with the economic downturn, fewer people will likely be doing the same amount of work.
To succeed in the new year, finance must balance automation and quality talent to stay relevant and strategically minded. Expect 2023 to be the year of using tools imbibed with AI and ML technology to find, hire and retain talent while at the same time streamlining operations, slashing the need for humans to perform redundant and mundane tasks.
These are only a few of the many changes both finance and businesses across the board will face in the coming year. The bottom line is finance must continue to be agile and embrace technology to accelerate finance transformation and boldly move to a more intelligent future.