How FP&A Teams can use AI now

Abacum CEO Julio Martinez
Julio Martínez

, Co-Founder & CEO, Abacum

5 min read · Published: May 28, 2024

How FP&A Teams can use AI now

FP&A teams have a lot to handle: endless spreadsheets, tight deadlines, and the constant juggling act of answering every question the business asks. Luckily, AI tools are becoming more accessible to finance teams everywhere and helping to solve these challenges. 

Leveraging technology in FP&A isn’t a new concept. It started with the 1st generation of on-premise solutions, moved to the cloud with sophisticated 2nd generation planning tools, before bursting out of the spreadsheet with 3rd generation FP&A platforms.

What does the 4th generation look like? It’s the dawn of AI in everyday use by FP&A teams, reducing business risks, delivering more accurate insights, and making your work life a whole lot easier and productive. 

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1. Automate Mundane Tasks

A massive chunk of time is eaten up by repetitive tasks like data entry, report generation, and basic analysis. But the latest generation of FP&A tools are starting to embrace AI systems that automate these mundane tasks. Now, in just a few clicks, you can:

  • Pull operational data from your CRM, HRIS or BI tool
  • Clean, sort and map the data instantly
  • Generate detailed reports

When you can do more basic tasks, faster, you increase productivity without putting any additional pressure on an already demanding schedule. Crucially, using AI in this way frees up your time to focus on more strategic, value-added activities that drive business forward. 

2. Generate Strategic Insights

It’s one thing to sort, model, and clean up data. But analyzing and presenting that data in a way that’s useful to the rest of the business is another matter entirely. 

The good news is that AI is bridging the gap between raw data and strategic insights very quickly. A modern FP&A platform like Abacum, uses AI to:

  1. Analyze raw business data
  2. Find clear trends and correlations
  3. Write a detailed analysis for you

With AI taking care of the heavy lifting, you can identify new business opportunities, optimize resource allocation, and improve overall financial performance. This puts you in a stronger position to become a true business partner, armed with the deep insights into business operations that you need to contribute to the organization’s strategic goals.

3. Real-Time Risk Mitigation

Until recently, most teams have had to wait until month-end to spot any red flags and respond, which can dramatically increase the cost of those risks. With AI, you have real-time analytics at your fingertips, providing you with up-to-the-minute insights.

Imagine a scenario, for example, where a marketing team begins to exceed their advertising budget in the first week of the month. By the time you start your reporting processes at the end of the month, that overspending has continued for three times longer than it would have if you’d been able to identify it straight away. With AI, you can identify risks like this in real-time and take immediate action to reduce their financial impact on the business. 

No more waiting for end-of-month reports to make informed decisions. Now, you can use AI to spot trends, identify issues, and make decisions much earlier, keeping your organization agile and responsive.  

4. Enhanced Forecasting

Forecasting is the bread and butter of FP&A, but traditional methods can be time-consuming and often lack precision. There’s only so much time in the week, but demands for different forecasts from stakeholders increase every quarter.

FP&A solutions are now building the capacity to generate new forecasts based on simple data inputs. Abacum’s AI auto-forecasting, for example,  handles complex scenarios and large datasets faster – and more accurately – so you can meet this rising demand.

Crucially, auto-forecasting uses machine learning models to optimize your forecasts based on historical data. This allows you to create more accurate forecasts, free of common biases that lead to over-committing or under-promising to align with broader business goals. 

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Embracing AI in the Here and Now

AI is no longer just a buzzword. It’s a powerful tool that, when used in the right way, can transform the way FP&A teams operate on a day-to-day basis. Unlock the power of AI to automate routine tasks, enhance forecast accuracy, provide real-time analytics and deliver strategic insights.

There’s no denying a popular narrative of “will AI take my job?” But AI isn’t your competition. In reality, knowing how to leverage AI to be more productive and effective in your role will become your competitive advantage. 

Whether you’re a seasoned finance pro or an FP&A newcomer, AI is set to be your secret weapon. It’s time to stop wondering about the future of AI and to start leveraging the tangible, practical uses of AI right now in FP&A. Find out how Abacum Intelligence takes your FP&A team to the next level, with the 4th generation of FP&A.  

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