Microsoft Introduces Copilot AI Chatbot for Finance Workers in Excel and Outlook

Microsoft is launching a Copilot for Finance, which it said will be able to perform a handful of common role-specific actions in Excel and Outlook.


Microsoft Introduces Copilot AI Chatbot for Finance Workers

Microsoft has announced the release of a Copilot chatbot specifically designed for finance professionals. This AI-powered tool will be able to perform key tasks in Excel and Outlook, such as running a variance analysis, reconciling data, and speeding up the collections process. The Copilot is capable of drawing information from SAP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 to provide efficient finance solutions.

The development of the new Copilot involved input from Microsoft's own finance department, which has already seen time savings from its use. By automating tedious tasks like data reconciliation, finance professionals can now focus on more engaging work that adds value to the company. The implementation of the Copilot is optional for Microsoft's finance employees, but widespread adoption could help companies close their books more quickly.

The Rise of AI Chatbots in Business Software

The introduction of Microsoft's Copilot for finance reflects a growing trend in business software providers incorporating generative artificial intelligence into their products. Companies like HubSpot and Salesforce have been leveraging AI to enhance the efficiency of their clients. The popularity of AI chatbots began with the launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT in 2022, which demonstrated the ability to generate natural-sounding text with minimal human input.

Microsoft aims to enable and enrich every department with a Copilot, understanding the importance of specialized work across different groups within a company. In addition to the finance Copilot, Microsoft already has versions available for general-purpose use in Office applications, as well as tailored Copilots for sales and customer-service workers.

Benefits and Future Development of the Finance Copilot

The Copilot for finance is expected to bring significant benefits to professionals in the field. By automating tasks like data reconciliation, the new tool can save finance teams hours of work each week. Microsoft's finance department has already experienced time savings, with employees spending 10 to 20 minutes per week on reconciliation instead of one to two hours.

Charles Lamanna, a corporate vice president at Microsoft, stated that additional features will be introduced to the finance Copilot later this year. Japanese advertising agency Dentsu is among the first to adopt the tool for finance tasks. The Copilot's ability to streamline processes and provide actionable insights could make it a valuable asset for CFOs looking to improve efficiency in their organizations.