A man in a denim apron sits at a wooden table and looks down at the electronic tablet in his hands with a smile. The man has dark hair shaved close to his head and some light facial hair. On the table in front of him are an open laptop and an open notebook with a pair of glasses sitting on top of it. In the background is a gourmet food shop. One wall is lined with shelving units filled with jars, boxes, and bags of prepared foods. Globular light fixtures hang from the ceiling.
Artificial intelligence tools can help employees save time by automating tasks like tracking transactions, answering basic customer questions, and organizing meetings. — Getty Images/mapodile

Artificial intelligence is unlikely to replace your employees anytime soon, but it can take on some of the repetitive tasks that eat into your team’s productivity.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that today’s AI tools can support businesses in three main areas: automating business processes, gaining insight through data analysis, and engaging with customers and employees.

Here are some examples of business tasks that fall under these categories — and how AI can help.

Project management

Administrative processes, such as approval workflows, tracking deliverables, and data input, are a necessary but time-consuming part of working in a team. A recent survey from Monday.com found that nearly 55% of workers spend five or more hours each week on tedious tasks that require little to no creativity.

Tasks like calendar entry and meeting scheduling, routing documents for approval, and transferring data from one system to another can all be automated using AI. Tools like Zapier, Asana, and ClickUp integrate artificial intelligence to keep project management tasks on track automatically.

[Read more: 4 Effective Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage AI]

Accounting

Accounting is one business function that can significantly benefit from AI. Experts estimate that 86% of accounting tasks could be automated. Artificial intelligence can make bookkeeping more efficient and more accurate, eliminating data entry errors that can delay the accounts payable process and hold up other financial processes.

“​​AI accounting analyzes your business’s transactions to shorten the time it takes to record sales and business expenses, reconcile accounts, and generate tax documents,” wrote The Fool.

“Beyond bookkeeping—the process of tracking business transactions—AI helps auditors identify fraud and unusual transactions that warrant further investigation. An artificial intelligence audit system detects patterns consistent with fraud faster and more precisely than humans.”

Small business accounting tools that use AI include Zeni.AI, Vic.AI, and Sage.

Accounting is one business function that can significantly benefit from AI.

Customer insight

Artificial intelligence can analyze large volumes of data to extract insights about your customer's shopping behavior, preferences, and future purchases. Machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, can be applied to data sets to identify historical patterns and learn to make predictions about future trends.

“Cognitive insights provided by machine learning differ from those available from traditional analytics in three ways: They are usually much more data-intensive and detailed, the models typically are trained on some part of the data set, and the models get better—that is, their ability to use new data to make predictions or put things into categories improves over time,” wrote Harvard Business Review.

This type of artificial intelligence can help you predict what a particular customer is likely to buy, develop new products, and uncover trends in buying behavior to create more targeted ads and discounts. Tools like Tableau and Amazon Forecast may be a good option for your small business.

Content marketing

AI tools can handle everything from generating captions, emails, and social media posts to distributing them on an optimized schedule. Jasper.AI, HyperWrite, Bard, and ChatGPT are AI platforms that can write blog posts, emails, and social media copy for your profiles. Grammarly can automatically correct your grammar and make suggestions based on tone and style preference.

As for distribution, artificial intelligence can take on the time-consuming tasks of scheduling and posting your content. Automation can send emails, launch complex marketing campaigns and track their progress, manage your subscription base, and run A/B tests when needed. Additionally, artificial intelligence can measure key metrics like timing, click-through rates, conversions, and more.

[Read more: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Changing How Marketers Sell Everything From Food to Fashion]

Customer service

Finally, AI bots can help manage customer requests, fielding common queries to free up your team for more complicated questions. A chatbot installed on your website can be programmed to respond to technical support questions and route customer requests to the appropriate team, providing 24/7 responsiveness in the customer’s natural language. Many chatbots improve as they learn and can integrate with your CRM to capture all customer interactions. Try a tool like Zendesk or Zowie to get started.

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