AI’s Impact on Finance: The Future of Accounting and the Urgent Need for Adaptation


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the world, and nowhere is this more evident than in the finance sector. From revolutionizing accounting practices to transforming risk management and decision-making, AI is pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Experts warn of an urgent need for adaptation to stay competitive and relevant.

“Accounting, traditionally seen as a field reliant on meticulous human effort and manual processes, is undergoing a dramatic transformation due to AI,” says well-respected finance expert Sagiv Korenfeld Amar. “Automated systems can now handle complex calculations, data entry, and even some aspects of financial analysis. This has led to significant improvements in efficiency and accuracy.”

Korenfeld Amar, a Controller and Director of Finance, stresses that adopting more AI in finance and accounting will improve reconciliations, eliminate errors, and assist in performing technical work. Employees will have more time for process improvements, control checks, and data analysis.

Korenfeld Amar adds: “AI can assist with more complex tasks such as comparing big data in seconds, finding errors, and suggesting solutions for ad-hoc cases.” He believes that AI is not just a tool for improving efficiency but a game-changer that can redefine the entire accounting landscape. Businesses that fail to adapt to these technological advancements risk being left behind.

Currently the Director of Finance at NICE for the Americas in the US, Korenfeld Amar leads a team of accounting professionals, streamlining financial processes and managing payroll for 3,200 US-based employees. He has developed a unified platform for information inflow, significantly reducing manual labor, errors, and time spent. This has enabled him to create a revenue dashboard in Power BI to enhance financial trend visibility. 

Korenfeld Amar has worked with numerous multi-million dollar companies, providing financial support. They include Syneron-Candela and Lumenis, competitors in the medical industry, and BOL Pharma. At BOL Pharma, where he was the Corporate Controller, he built and led a financial team, boosting productivity by 40%. He also secured $8 million in funding through a venture lending initiative with Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, showcasing his deep understanding of financial markets, investment opportunities, and risk management.

Hagai Hillman, the Founder of BOL Pharma, recalls Korenfeld joining the company shortly after it completed a successful funding of over $30 million: “With big dreams to become public, we were focused on becoming a global leader in pharmaceutical drugs intended to address the unmet medical needs of patients in therapeutic areas. Sagiv played a pivotal role in building the financial infrastructure from the ground up, including recruiting and training a new team and implementing new processes to meet all the requirements for becoming public.”

Hillman adds: “In addition to IPO readiness and securing additional funds, Sagiv has worked diligently to improve the financial reporting infrastructure and provide leadership with more accurate and timely financial data than ever before. This is critical for data-based decision-making and for ensuring company success.”

In this article, Korenfeld Amar discusses the need for the accounting sector to embrace AI to see advancements to take it into the next century and beyond.

Enhanced Financial Analysis and Forecasting

AI’s ability to analyze vast amounts of data in real-time has opened new avenues for financial analysis and forecasting. Machine learning algorithms can identify patterns and trends humans might miss, providing more accurate predictions and insights.

“One of the aspects I love most about my profession is the abundance of opportunities it provides,” says Korenfeld Amar. “Finance is integral to every organization, crucial in maintaining healthy operations and strategic planning. Being involved in forecasting and financial strategy places you at the heart of the company’s decision-making processes. I find great satisfaction in helping a company achieve its goals and being part of its growth and success.”

One of the most striking examples of AI’s impact on accounting is the advent of automated bookkeeping. Companies like Xero and QuickBooks have integrated AI to streamline their services. These platforms can automatically categorize transactions, reconcile accounts, and generate financial reports with minimal human intervention. This reduces the time and effort required and minimizes errors that can occur with manual bookkeeping.

Another company that is already embracing AI is KPMG. Considered one of the Big Four accounting firms, it has been at the forefront of integrating AI into its audit processes. With financial data growing more complex and the need for increased accuracy and efficiency, KPMG sought to leverage AI to enhance its auditing capabilities. The company partnered with IBM Watson to develop an AI-driven audit platform. This platform utilizes machine learning and natural language processing to analyze vast amounts of financial data, identify anomalies, and provide insights that were previously difficult to obtain with traditional methods.

“By identifying patterns and anomalies that might be missed by human auditors, the AI system has improved the accuracy and reliability of audits. As a result, AI has significantly reduced the time required to conduct audits by automating data analysis and flagging potential issues for human auditors to review,” says Korenfeld Amar. 

“Automating routine tasks has also led to substantial cost savings for KPMG and their clients. Financial forecasting has also become more precise and reliable with AI. This allows businesses to make informed decisions faster and with greater confidence. It’s an invaluable asset in an increasingly volatile economic environment.”

Risk Management and Fraud Detection

Risk management is another area where AI is making significant strides. Traditional methods of assessing risk often involve labor-intensive processes and are based on historical data. AI, however, can analyze real-time data from multiple sources, providing a more comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of risks.

“The ever-evolving landscape of finance ensures that there’s always something new to learn and new challenges to tackle. AI systems can detect unusual patterns and anomalies in transaction data, flagging potentially fraudulent activities much more effectively than traditional methods,” says Korenfeld Amar.

An example is how Mastercard has implemented AI-based fraud detection systems that significantly reduce fraudulent transactions. The system analyzes patterns of behavior and transaction histories to identify suspicious activities, alerting the company and cardholders in real-time. Deloitte, another Big Four accounting firm, has also used AI to detect and prevent financial fraud in an increasingly digital world.

Deloitte developed an AI-based fraud detection system that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze financial transactions in real-time. The system can detect unusual patterns and behaviors indicative of fraudulent activity.

Korenfeld Amar reveals: “Their AI system can analyze transactions as they occur, providing real-time alerts for potential fraud. By learning from historical data, the AI system can distinguish between legitimate and suspicious activities more accurately, reducing the number of false positives. It has great scalability because the AI system can handle large volumes of transactions, making it suitable for large organizations with complex financial operations. And the ability to detect fraud early helps organizations mitigate financial losses and protect their reputations.”

He adds: “My competence in accounting and finance, combined with financial foresight and a deep understanding of business operations, allows me to contribute effectively to the company’s growth. I believe that incorporating AI into financial fraud strategies and aligning them with overall business objectives it will only drive success.”

The Human Element: Adaptation and Skill Development

Despite AI’s remarkable capabilities, the human element remains crucial. Integrating AI into finance does not eliminate the need for human oversight and expertise. Instead, it shifts the focus towards more strategic roles where human judgment and creativity are indispensable.

Korenfeld Amar points out: “While AI can handle repetitive tasks and complex calculations, it cannot replace the nuanced understanding and strategic thinking that finance professionals bring. The key is to leverage AI to complement human skills, not replace them.”

He adds that to stay ahead, finance professionals must adapt by developing new skills and embracing a mindset of continuous learning: “Understanding how to work alongside AI systems, interpret their outputs, and make informed decisions based on AI-driven insights are critical competencies for the future. I am committed to ensuring that my finance departments adopt new technologies quickly and maintain a personal touch.”

“Finance must be more data-driven and embrace technological tools to improve efficiency and accuracy. But that cannot come at the expense of connection.” 

This proactive stance on technology adoption sets Korenfeld Amar apart from others who may be more resistant to change in the finance sector: “Innovation is key to staying ahead. I encourage my team to adopt new technologies and think creatively about improving processes. Embracing change and constantly seeking better ways to do things keeps us competitive and forward-thinking.”

AI And The Future Of Finance

As AI continues to evolve, its impact on finance will only grow. The future of accounting and finance will be characterized by greater efficiency, enhanced decision-making capabilities, and a stronger focus on strategic roles for human professionals. However, the pace of change necessitates swift and decisive action. Businesses and financial institutions must invest in AI technologies and, more importantly, in their workforce development. Embracing AI is not an option but a necessity for staying competitive in the digital age.

“I want to be remembered as someone who is passionate and dedicated to what I do,” says Korenfeld Amar. “I hope to leave a mark by promoting the adoption of more technology within our industry, making processes more efficient and innovative. When I go to work, it’s not just to earn a living, but because I genuinely love my profession. I chose this field because it excites me and aligns with my interests.”

AI is transforming the finance sector in unprecedented ways. The benefits are immense, from automated bookkeeping to advanced risk management. But as Korenfeld Amar aptly notes, the successful integration of AI hinges on the willingness to adapt and the commitment to ethical and responsible use of technology: “The pace of change necessitates swift and decisive action,” he says. 

“Businesses and financial institutions must invest in AI technologies and, more importantly, their workforce development. But not at the expense of those who work for them. AI should be seen as an enhancement of human skill, not a technology that will replace it.”

About Sagiv Korenfeld Amar

Sagiv Korenfeld Amar is a distinguished finance professional with extensive experience in international financial management. Beginning his career at PwC Israel as a Supervisor in High-Tech Auditing, Korenfeld Amar enhanced audit and compliance processes for SEC-listed companies and private high-tech firms, ensuring SOX compliance and leading audit teams. 

Before his role as Controller and Director of Finance at NICE, Korenfeld Amar served as a Senior Controller at the company in Israel, where he played a key role in the 20F and 6-K reporting processes according to US-GAAP standards. His earlier experience also includes his role as Corporate Controller at BOL Pharma.

As Assistant Controller at Lumenis, he developed a structured monthly dashboard for management and oversaw the consolidation process in compliance with US-GAAP standards. And at Syneron-Candela, he managed the consolidation process and optimized departmental workflows. At KPMG, he conducted financial audits in compliance with Israel GAAP and IFRS for multinational real estate firms and energy and infrastructure funds.

Korenfeld Amar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Economics, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and has a proven track record of working in complex global companies across various industries. 

Korenfeld Amar’s career is characterized by his leadership in financial management, process improvement, and strategic planning, making him a valuable asset in finance.

 













Source link

Leave a Comment