Wipro was in the final stages of closing its year-end books when global lockdowns forced the finance and accounting teams to work from home. With two weeks until the close of India’s fiscal year, the company needed to pivot from tightly controlled, on-location processes to protocols that could be followed from hundreds of remote locations. Wipro had leveraged AI and automation for three quarters to forecast revenues with 99.5% accuracy, so executives understood the technologies’ power for the CFO function. The challenge amid the global pandemic was deploying AI, automation and other technologies across multiple teams quickly enough to meet regulatory deadlines.
Wipro launched a 24-hour helpline to provide assistance to the now-remote team responsible for closing the year-end books. We then held twice-daily calls to identify gaps and potential points of delay. The CFO office overcame one such obstacle, enabling preparers and reviewers to complete their financial reporting work, by leveraging VPNs, the cloud, and Microsoft Teams. Yet gathering, processing and analyzing all the necessary information for dozens of teams and 800+ remote finance employees required us to embrace AI and automation in creative new ways.
Leveraging Wipro HOLMES, we completed many essential finance functions in a fraction of the time required by manual processes. For example, we completely automated invoicing and booking with intelligent process automation, enabling the team to generate error-free invoices with minimal human intervention. We also automated general ledger feeds coming from various sub-ledgers, using natural language processing to reconcile various line items with accounting ontology. Meanwhile, an AI-driven “sensitivity analysis” allowed the controller team to aggregate data and last-minute modifications in advance, giving the financial planning and analysis team more time to analyze the data and run various scenarios.
Deploying AI and automation technologies across the finance organization turned a labor-intensive year-end marathon into a highly effective sprint. Whereas several competitors missed their reporting dates due to the sudden onset of telework requirements, Wipro’s CFO office completed its year-end processes on time amid the unprecedented constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.