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What’s New in Tech: Introducing Microsoft Copilot in Finance

In any organization, the finance department serves as its beating heart, managing a multitude of essential yet intricate tasks. From overseeing quote-to-cash processes like credit and collections to ensuring compliance and risk management, financial teams bear the weight of vital operations. Surprisingly, a staggering 80% of finance leaders and teams encounter hurdles when attempting to transition into more strategic roles beyond their operational duties.

In support of finance teams, Microsoft is introducing a significant advancement: Microsoft Copilot for Finance. This new addition to the Microsoft 365 suite harnesses the capabilities of AI to provide invaluable support to financial professionals in their daily tasks. Whether accessed through Outlook, Excel, Teams, or other Microsoft 365 applications, Copilot for Finance seamlessly integrates with your organization’s financial systems, such as Dynamics 365 and SAP. Visualize having a co-pilot piloting the complexities of finance alongside you, facilitating you to dedicate your time to leading the company toward success. And the exciting news? It’s already available for an exclusive preview in the public domain.

Finance teams are pivotal in innovating practices to enhance efficiency throughout the organization. However, despite the emphasis on calculated venture, a substantial 62% of finance professionals find themselves mired in the monotony of data entry and review cycles, rather than engaging in analysis or cross-team collaboration. While tasks like compliance and tax reporting resist automation and remain critical, the majority of finance leaders highlight a lack of automation tools hindering their ability to transform these processes and reclaim valuable time.

In the fast-moving business environment, 68% of CFOs anticipate revenue growth through generative AI (GenAI) in the next three to five years. Leveraging next-gen AI to automate tasks and provide insights enables finance teams to maximize their impact as financial stewards and strategists.

How does Copilot in Finance enable Smarter Finance Management & Smoother Operations:

Copilot for Finance uses AI within Microsoft 365 to streamline financial tasks. It speeds up audits by retrieving and reconciling data swiftly, shortens collections with automated communications and payments, and expedites reporting by identifying discrepancies quickly. These efficiencies save time and costs, revolutionizing how financial professionals work and contribute to the organization.

With Copilot for Finance, users engage in various ways. It suggests actions and accepts natural language questions. For instance, users can inquire about the variances between forecasted and actual financial data. Copilot swiftly responds with insights drawn from ERP and financial systems, offering suggestions and context. Users can verify data sources for transparency before taking action. Copilot seamlessly integrates with existing financial systems like Dynamics 365 and SAP, along with many others through Microsoft Copilot Studio.

Copilot for Finance: a tool designed to streamline finance professionals’ tasks, saving time and enhancing productivity. Here’s how it can assist in three key scenarios:

  1. Financial Audits:
    • Replace manual data extraction and reconciliation tasks with a single prompt.
    • Quickly identify inaccuracies and delinquencies using Copilot-generated reports and invoices.
    • Empower accounts receivable managers to promptly address inconsistencies.
  2. Collections Process:
    • Prioritize accounts and summarize interactions for ERP records, freeing collection coordinators to focus on client interactions.
    • Simplify negotiation by offering tailored payment plans to customers.
    • Ensure timely payments, optimizing company cash flow and profitability.
  3. Financial Analysis:
    • Eliminate manual data sifting by instructing Copilot to detect outliers and flag discrepancies.
    • Tailor instructions for variance detection, enabling analysts to focus on reviewing anomalies.
    • Automate the gathering of supporting data for thorough investigation.

Bonus Features:

  • Contact Suggestions: Copilot suggests relevant financial contacts for efficient communication.
  • Task Tracking: Automatically summarize tasks and follow-ups for easy tracking.
  • Tailored Reporting: Create customized financial commentary, PowerPoint presentations, and emails for reporting to key stakeholders.

Reference Figure: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2024/02/29/introducing-microsoft-copilot-for-finance-transform-finance-with-next-generation-ai-in-microsoft-365/.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Microsoft Copilot for Finance is a game-changer for finance management within Microsoft 365 applications. With its streamlined processes and actionable insights, Copilot sets a new standard for efficiency and innovation in finance operations. As organizations navigate the complexities of the financial landscape, Copilot empowers finance teams to drive strategic initiatives and achieve success.

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About Intech Systems:

Intech Systems is a leading IT services company focused on providing world-class implementation and support services for Microsoft Technologies. Intech’s wide range of services helps companies in their digital transformation journeys by providing technology solutions, across all three Microsoft clouds– Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365. With offices in India and the US, Intech has a rich experience of over 40 years, with more than 250 certified consultants, having implemented projects in 10+ countries. Today, Intech is amongst the top managed partners in India and a Microsoft-certified Solutions Partner for Data and AI (Azure), Business Applications, and Digital App and Innovation.

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