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New report suggests major uptick in AI, machine learning for enterprise cash flow forecasts

Posted by Kanika Sinha

November 12, 2021    |     2-minute read (368 words)

With pandemic-induced disruptions amplifying the need for more effective cash forecasting, an increasing number of businesses are adopting AI and machine learning to sharpen their forecasting capabilities.

Enterprise deployment of these modern technologies for cash flow forecasting will expand by a whopping 450% over the next two years, predicts the 2021 Cash Forecasting & Visibility Survey Report from GTreasury and Strategic Treasurer.

Meanwhile, the survey of almost 250 enterprises spanning multiple industries found that a vast majority of enterprises still rely on traditional manual processes and techniques for cash flow forecasting. A staggering 91% of respondents report still using Excel spreadsheets as one of their primary forecasting tools. 

In comparison, 25% report they have a modern digital treasury platform in place and 28% utilize enterprise resource planning software. Only 5% of respondents use a dedicated forecasting platform, while 15% use financial reporting and analysis or budgeting tools to support cash forecasting.

The report also revealed that a meager 6% of respondents are currently leveraging AI/ML tools for projecting cash flow, but that figure is expected to reach 27% by 2023 based on enterprises’ reported plans. 

Respondents also signaled an upward trajectory for regression analysis. Presently, only 12% of surveyed enterprises use the method for financial analysis and forecasting, but that number is expected to climb to 29% by 2023, and 43% of respondents indicate they use or will use regression analysis at some time in the future.

Finally, in reference to variance analysis — another technique that businesses often resort to for managing finances —here too companies largely still have manual processes in place, the survey found. Some 57% of respondents said they perform variance analysis only manually, while another 19% reported it was mostly a manual effort. One-fifth of enterprises said they avoid manual effort by performing no variance analysis whatsoever. The remaining 5% report having fully automated variance analysis processes.

Takeaway: Despite currently relying on traditional cash flow prediction tools, an increasing number of enterprises are ready to pursue new strategies and technologies to enhance their efficacy in managing and forecasting cash flow forecasting as well as overall liquidity.

Read the complete 2021 Cash Forecasting & Visibility Survey Report from Strategic Treasurer in conjunction with GTreasury.

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