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In modern society, artificial intelligence (AI) has permeated the financial world in positive ways from virtual reality being used for compliance training to taking on machine learning for accurate forecasts. For us as audit services professionals, it is encouraging that the original fear of AI has been disproven. The more our clients understand of the benefits of AI, the more we can see that it will only help us do our jobs as auditors more efficiently.

The combination of AI and human intelligence is the key to transforming our work, and how we approach it, on a daily basis. A fluency in AI needs to be developed while human resources are re-imagined to be more intuitive and personal. A recent study discovered that South African C-level executives are already leading their companies towards an AI-enabled workspace.

75% of South African CFOs do not express concern over automation effecting job security. In fact, 73% even go as far to say that their businesses are ready for more automation. This means that CFOs are setting a creative example by not only stating that emerging technology is crucial to success, but also by adopting a solid opinion when it comes to the human vs robots debate. These CFOs are welcoming possibilities associated with AI and machine learning. 89% say that they would like to introduce higher levels of automation within their organizations for the purpose of daily accounting tasks, as majority use data analytics to drive financial productivity.

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Technology is pushing for higher levels of productivity as more South African CFOs are analyzing their data rather than collecting or processing it. C-level executives now have more time to invest in their human capital. With the new technology, a CFO is much more effective than before and brings a greater sense of value to the organization. CFOs appreciate emerging technologies because it assists them in differentiating themselves from their competition.

Finance experts are seeing the industry enter a new space where financial decision makers will need tools to help them deliver on core competencies. They will need to be confident in implementing a digital agenda throughout their company with multi-dimensional accounting, efficient financial operations, and sophisticated visibility for real-time decision-making.

Audit services professionals such as Mahdi Meyer Steyn Chartered Accountants Inc. are especially encouraged by the positive developments in AI and machine learning. It means that we now have the capability to analyze greater data sets and draw more robust conclusions from the data we analyze. Our teams are excited to partner with the AI-enabled finance environments of our clients.