Artificial intelligence, also known as AI technology, has been one of the most talked-about and frequently misunderstood developments of digital technology. AI is often described as being a mysterious, even scary or "all powerful" force — some commentators worry that AI, such as self-driving cars, could eliminate jobs and disrupt society.

AI technology in the business and consumer world is making a difference for organizations of all sizes — from digital voice assistants on people's kitchen counters and in people's pockets, to the more elaborate machine learning algorithms that are crunching numbers and saving big money for corporations worldwide. It's possible that the impact of AI is going to be transformative on the world of knowledge work — and instead of "eliminating" jobs, it's likely to free people's minds and time from mundane tasks to focus on more advanced work.

What does this mean for finance leaders? It's best to help your board understand the positive impact of AI and show them some tangible examples of how it can make a difference for your organization.

Here are examples of how AI technology can help your organization save money, boost efficiency and improve your overall financial performance.

Boost Productivity

According to Futurism, JPMorgan Chase found a way to replace 360,000 hours of human work (done by loan officers and lawyers) with just a few seconds of effort by a machine learning system called COIN, or Contract Intelligence. This technology has helped JPMorgan Chase reduce the time needed to review documents and has reduced loan-servicing mistakes. Futurism reports Dana Deasy, CIO at JPMorgan Chase, as saying, "People always talk about this stuff as displacement. I talk about it as freeing people to work on higher-value things, which is why it's such a terrific opportunity for the firm." Organizations could save on money and productivity by automating more mundane tasks with AI technology.

Amp Up Customer Service

Another example of AI in the financial services sector is the rise of automated customer service assistants, also known as "chatbots." According to Forbes, Accenture reports that most industry insiders think AI will become the "primary" channel for banks and their customers. Financial services organizations such as Mastercard, Wells Fargo and Capital One are using chat bots and other types of AI to make it easier for customers to answer routine questions or access simple account information that doesn't require waiting on hold to talk to a real person. Again, this is a crucial opportunity to reduce costs and improve customer service. Could your organization benefit from a "virtual assistant" providing customer service on your team?

Empower Top Performers

Although it's true that AI could cause job displacement for lower-skilled workers, top performers should embrace this new era of opportunity. CFO found that there's a big divergence between top-performing organizations and lower-performing organizations in how much they spend on personnel within the finance function. The best-performing 25 percent of organizations spent only $3.66 on finance personnel per $1,000 of revenue, while the median 50 percent of organizations spent more than twice that amount — $7.33 per $1,000 of revenue. How can AI help? The right use of machine learning and other AI can eliminate lower-level, inefficient repetitive functions and free up your high-performing people to think strategically while saving money on personnel costs.

The future is nothing to fear. Finance leaders need to look for specific examples of how AI is already making a difference in the industry. Investing in AI could save money and boost the potential of your top talent.

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Tags: artificial intelligence