Workday Video: How AI Will Help Finance Create Value

Today’s finance teams have more responsibilities than ever as CEOs increasingly look to the CFO to shape business strategy. In an increasingly challenging environment, AI and machine learning can cut through complexity and help finance add greater value.

Workday Rising EMEA | The Future of Finance


In today’s ever-changing business world, it’s no longer enough for finance leaders to track what already happened — instead, they need to look around corners and predict where the business is headed. As the CFO role shifts to become more of a strategic partner, the entire finance function will need to examine and redefine their skills to operate in an environment of constant change and increasing complexity.

In this video filmed at Workday Rising EMEA in Barcelona, industry leaders discuss finance’s evolving role and how AI can accelerate the function’s journey to add more value.

Join us to learn more about AI’s potential to transform finance and turn the CFO into a finance futurist. 

Here are six key insights: 

1. AI will augment, not replace, human financial expertise

”Accountants are worried about being put out of their jobs — but it’s not being put out; it’s about changing their role,” says Emma Castledine, Enterprise Architect with, a global digital payment processor. One example: “Automated reconciliation for bank reconciliation and recording customer deposits will take out an enormous amount of our finance team’s manual effort so they can focus more on the stuff that’s value-add.”

2. AI has the potential to dramatically increase finance’s speed and agility

“Can it make the planning process much simpler and propose two or three scenarios for a budget that require far less human interaction?” says Rob Bloor, Group Financial Controller at Equiniti, a financial and administrative services company. “I think [the possibility] is exciting; I think it’s a little bit daunting, but one thing I can say for sure is that no matter what form the AI is, it will only work if the data is right.” 

3. AI can make a zero-day close a reality

“We are now looking at how we run the finance function in a fundamentally different way,” says Brian Montgomery, Senior Director of Finance at Workday. “We’re working on decreasing the time it takes to close the books down to zero days. Machine learning is transforming our ability to do that in a really efficient way that not only does it faster, but also improves the process and gets us to better insights in a shorter space of time.”

4. As a result of AI and other emerging technology, finance teams need new skills

“Rather than the standard old-school accountants that are used to the very traditional debits and credits ledger accounting, the people that we’re looking to hire now are more analytical,” Castledine says. “They’ve still got the same core skills but the way they want to approach the problem is different and they want to have technology to help them do that.”

5. To keep pace with the ever-changing business environment, CFOs will adopt AI use cases with increasing speed

Aside from traditional responsibilities, "the challenge that most excites me about the CFO role is adapting to technology,” says Jan Vogel, Director of Accounting and Controlling for Staffbase, a platform for mobile-first employee communications. “The environment is changing so fast,” adds Frederic Portal, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Workday. “AI adoption is going to get stronger and stronger because it’s an exponential curve. It’s becoming a competitive advantage.”

You can catch up with all the highlights from Workday Rising EMEA here.

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