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Hand in hand

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about artificial intelligence and big data – including machine learning. These new technologies are affecting many areas of business, and corporate finance is no exception. Marc Mullen, writing for the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty looks at how AI is changing the role of advisers – and at how human judgement will always be at the heart of successful deals.

In movies, the artificial intelligence (AI) future is always depicted as dystopian, generally involving an android and a submissive human fighting against the odds to survive. In reality, however, humans are already working with AI for better outcomes, which is why corporate financiers are beginning to adopt such technology. That’s not exactly a great narrative for a money-spinning Hollywood blockbuster.

“Professional services are the last industrial-scale artisans in the economy, providing bespoke work on a large scale, sometimes using old-fashioned approaches,” says PwC UK AI leader, Euan Cameron. “Lots of other industries have been through the revolution already, and in some respects, we’re just embarking on that journey. This is a process that takes place over time, not a one-off event. Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can’t put it back in.” Due diligence is central to de-risking of M&A. It is the most resource-intensive part of the transaction process. So, in many ways it is the first place to start when looking for efficiencies that can be gained by successful deployment of AI. 

About the article

Read the full article in the Corporate Financier May 2020 edition. Access this magazine as well as our extensive archive brought to you by the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty.