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Microsoft targets financial sector with Copilot update

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 01 Mar 2024
Copilot for Finance can free up time for finance professionals, says Microsoft.
Copilot for Finance can free up time for finance professionals, says Microsoft.

Microsoft has introduced Copilot for Finance – the latest artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot-based offering available in Microsoft 365 targeting the global financial sector.

Copilot promises to transform the way employees conduct their functions, through a combination of machine learning, neural network, natural language processing, computer vision generative AI and deep learning technologies.

It started rolling out in September, as part of Microsoft’s free update to Windows 11 across Bing, Edge and Microsoft 365.

According to Microsoft, the newly-introduced Copilot supercharges Excel, Outlook and other widely-used productivity apps with workflow and data-specific insights for finance professionals.

It draws on essential context from a company’s existing financial data sources, including traditional enterprise resource planning systems, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SAP, and the Microsoft Graph.

“Finance departments are critical partners in strategic decisions impacting the direction of a company,” notes Charles Lamanna, corporate vice-president for business applications and platforms at Microsoft.

“However, 80% of finance leaders and teams face challenges to take on more strategic work outside the operational portions of their roles, and 62% of finance professionals say they are stuck in the drudgery of data entry and review cycles.

“Copilot for Finance can help free up time for finance to play more of a strategic role in delivering counsel and insights to the business by streamlining financial tasks, automating workflows and providing insights in the flow of work.”

Microsoft says Copilot for Finance:

  • Helps financial analysts conduct a variance analysis in Excel using natural language prompts to review data sets for anomalies, risks and unmatched values.
  • Simplifies the reconciliation process in Excel with automated data structure comparisons and guided troubleshooting to help move from insight to action, which helps ensure the reliability and accuracy of financial records.
  • Provides a summary of relevant customer account details in Outlook, such as balance statements and invoices, to expedite the collections process.
  • Enables customers to turn raw data in Excel into presentation-ready visuals and reports ready to be shared across Outlook and Teams.