March 20, 2024

‘Rock-star’ tipping point for finance pros

How the latest cloud-based technologies and artificial intelligence help treasury and finance professionals manage accounts and drive business strategy.

Treasury and finance professionals are set for their “rock star” moment in business by using the latest data analytics tools and artificial intelligence to enhance decision-making, a recent NAB Transaction Banking conference series has heard.

The comments came as part of NAB’s “Next Frontier of Digitisation” panels featuring Trovata founder and CEO Brett Turner, the University of Melbourne’s Carsten Murawski and NAB Executive, Innovation and Partnerships, Brad Carr.

“Treasury and finance professionals get to be these sort of rock stars now, by leveraging technology to arrive at all these answers to complex questions really quickly,” Turner told the room. “It means they can really start to have a seat at the table when it comes to business strategy and propelling things forward.”

Super performance

Trovata is a US-based global fintech and partner in NAB’s Liquidity+ treasury management solution. NAB Liquidity+ features AI-enabled scenario modelling and forecasting, all delivered securely through the cloud with no IT implementation required.

Turner says the latest generative AI applications for natural language search and aggregation, coupled with multi-bank transaction data, create the sort of analytics leverage never before seen.

He likens the speed and simplicity involved in today’s modelling to the feats of billionaire genius Tony Stark, otherwise known as superhero Iron Man played by Robert Downey Jr in the Marvel movie franchise, who rapidly iterates solutions using his fictional AI.

“We’re on the cusp of doing those kinds of things, where you can quickly traverse all of these complex questions without the team having to go back and spend all night turning the crank on the model and getting a result,” Turner says.

“This becomes a game-changer to be able to take some of these concepts and be able to put it all together in that one natural language query and to provide results super-fast. Just seeing the early take of where that’s going is really exciting.”

Powering the future

Decision scientist and professor Carsten Murawski agrees the hype around the latest AI is largely justified and not to be underestimated.

He says decision support is going to be one of the real benefits of generative AI across a range of industries. In the banking sector this could include supporting bankers more efficiently to access and organise the range of materials and information they need to help customers.

“AI is not going to take over particularly harder tasks,” Murawski says. “But it’s going to help people do these tasks and make decisions better. What that means, particularly for customers, is they are probably going to request, or expect, advice rather than just product.”

While AI will likely reach its true potential when paired with other technologies, the possibilities should be embraced rather than feared, Murawski says.

“It’s on us to create our own future,” he says.

NAB’s Brad Carr reinforced this vision, saying banker support is a key early use case for AI in the industry.

“The knowledge sharing, learning and acquisition opportunities are just so immense,” Carr says. “It’s phenomenal, not only in what you can do, but in the ease of access. This is an incredibly powerful tool to enable us to show up in places for our customer in an efficient way. That’s the close to home potential for us.”

In looking at future scenarios, Carr outlined how embedded payments are going to sit behind a multitude of AI and big data-enabled experiences as the technology becomes ubiquitous in business and consumer products especially.

Quantum computing is also set to be a game-changer as the technology evolves and truly arrives, panellists agreed.

In an era of increased disruption and bad actors, security and resilience were also key themes to emerge from the discussion. For Carr, the opportunities for the banking sector are to leverage the experience and expertise in bank ID to combat threats like AI-enabled “deep fakes” in transactions.

“Technology itself is often part of the answer to a technology challenge,” he says. “Security and resilience are a feature. The answer is to lean into technology and embrace the opportunity.”

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