Deep Finance: Artificial Intelligence in the financial function - keynotes by CFO Cargill et al.

Video recap conference about Artificial Intelligence for accountants in business in the Netherlands: Deep Finance.

What does deep learning and artificial intelligence mean for accountants in business? How much of the ‘human element’ will still be incorporated in the figures? Are we headed for a future of ‘self-driving financials’? The accountants in business member group of the NBA (The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants) share the findings of the annual conference.

More than 500 financials in the Netherlands attended the Deep finance congress: the next step in financial intelligence. The video recap (with English subtitles) takes the form of a mini documentary, revealing the most important insights gained. Various speakers feature in the video such as Marcel Smits, CFO of agri-business Cargill, and Gerard van Olphen, Chairman of the Executive Board of APG Group. APG manages the pensions of 4.5 million clients, amounting to 370 billion euros of invested assets. They are both accountants in business and illustrate how big data and self-learning systems are used in their organisation.

Critical thinking

Is data self-evident? Christien Brinkgreve, professor of social and behavioural sciences, published the book ‘Weten vraagt meer dan meten’ (There’s more to knowledge than numbers). This work reveals the dangers of thinking we can just mindlessly allow ourselves to be at the mercy of data. Her fundamental argument is that we should not blindly trust data but keep thinking critically and continue to pay attention to what we see and hear.

What does the future hold for accountants and controllers?

Eric Postma, professor of artificial intelligence, agrees with the point of view described above and stresses data is just a representation of reality. He does not believe the dangers sketched by Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are in any way justified. Can intelligent technology supersede humans in accountancy and controlling jobs? Eric advises adopting the ‘tsunami strategy’ to remain relevant in your field. This video also contains a fragment on bionics, highlighting why this field of expertise is so promising for the future. ‘Bionic Woman’, Ylva Poelman, highlights the many advantages of using nature as inspiration for technological innovation.

The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants (Koninklijke NBA)

The ‘accountants in business’ member group of the NBA has over 9,200 members and has been organising the annual congress, de Dag van De Financial, since 1999. The main objective is to address and examine those themes that really matter and, in this way, go beyond the issues of daily activities. This encourages members to deepen their professional knowledge and to stay abreast of the most recent developments in their field.