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Microsoft Updates Copilot to Bring AI to Finance Teams

Microsoft has debuted a new offering for finance teams via its Copilot AI assistant.

Copilot for Finance, announced Thursday (Feb. 29), joins the company’s Copilot for Sales and Copilot for Service offerings, and is designed for finance professionals who say they are bogged down with 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,” the company said on its blog.

According to the blog post, Copilot for Finance lets financial analysts “quickly conduct a variance analysis in Excel using natural language prompts to review data sets for anomalies, risks and unmatched values,” letting business leaders determine where a company is meeting, exceeding or missing its goals and why.

The tool also simplifies reconciliation in Excel “with automated data structure comparisons and guided troubleshooting to help move from insight to action,” making financial records more reliable and accurate.

PYMNTS has spent the last several months examining the way AI can make life easier for finance teams, writing last June about the way these tools “move beyond siloed automation solutions,” thus “freeing up employees from less rewarding work and augmenting human-level analytical strengths in ways that ladder-up to key business goals.” 

The technology is transforming the way we think about the operational relationship between systems and workers, James Ritter, CFO at ABBYY, said in a March 2023 interview with PYMNTS.

Businesses, he said, “don’t necessarily need someone to do specific data entry type tasks as much anymore, but you do need individuals that are able to provide additional critical analysis.”

AI has also transformed Microsoft, with the tech giant’s work with OpenAI helping raise its profile and make it the largest company in the world in terms of market cap.

Microsoft reported last month that Copilot is being adopted across industries, with the AI assistant and Microsoft’s other AI tools leading the company to a record quarter during the three months ended Dec. 31.

“A growing body of evidence makes clear the role AI will play in transforming work,” Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said during an earnings call.

However, this month also saw reports that Copilot had gotten mixed reviews. While people who piloted the program were initially enthusiastic to use it, some testers had expressed doubts about its costs.