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Microsoft launches Copilot for finance teams - including some nifty new Excel tools data nerds will love

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A new Microsoft Copilot launch is looking to bring the benefits of generative AI tools to finance teams, helping them boost productivity and efficiency across the board.

Microsoft says the niftily-named Copilot for Finance will help finance teams do away with monotonous and time-consuming manual tasks, letting them focus on being more of a strategic part of their business.

The launch includes some new AI-powered additions to favorite Microsoft 365 apps such as Excel and Outlook, giving finance teams an extra tool in helping influence and even make key business decisions.

Microsoft Copilot for Finance

"Finance departments are critical partners in strategic decisions impacting the direction of a company," Microsoft's Charles Lamanna, CVP, Business Applications and Platform, said in a blog post announcing the launch.

"Copilot for Finance can help free up time for finance to play more of a strategic role in delivering counsel and insights to the business by streamlining financial tasks, automating workflows and providing insights in the flow of work."

As with other similar releases, Copilot for Finance brings in Microsoft 365 tools, which the company says are "supercharged" via its AI platform, alongside traditional ERP systems such as Microsoft 365, SAP and the Microsoft Graph.

This includes Microsoft Excel, a vital tool for many finance teams, which will now allow financial analysts to quickly conduct variance analysis using natural language prompts, reviewing data sets for anomalies, risks and unmatched values, giving much more in-depth insight on where improvements can be made, or successes can be found.

Copilot for Finance is also able to simplify the reconciliation process in Excel with automated data structure comparisons and guided troubleshooting, which Microsoft says will help make sure financial records are reliable and accurate.

When it comes to Outlook, Copilot for Finance is able to quickly summarize and provide reports on customer accounts, bringing information such as invoices and balance statements to allow for quicker action.

And as with other models, Copilot for Finance can bring raw data from Excel and turn it into "presentation-ready" reports and even visuals, which can then be shared across the entire Microsoft 365 platform.

Companies looking to try out the new tools can try the new Copilot for Finance add-ins now as a public preview, with a wider launch set for some point in the near future.

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