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Technology and workforce spending are top priorities for CFOs

In the face of anticipated revenue growth, CFOs are investing heavily in their workforce and technology, with a significant emphasis on generative AI

CFOs are focusing on two key areas that could lead to revenue gains as businesses navigate the digital era: building and preserving the workforce and planning technology investments.

According to the 2023 Q2 CFO Survey by Grant Thornton, CFOs are prioritising workforce and technology spending to drive growth and innovation.

The survey reveals that nearly one-third of CFOs have integrated generative AI into their business operations, with an additional 55% exploring its potential applications.

This trend signifies the strategic shift towards AI-driven business models, underscoring the pivotal role of technology in shaping the future of businesses.

Generative AI, with its ability to create new, original content based on existing data, is revolutionising business processes, from product development to customer engagement strategies.

It is not just about automating tasks but also about enhancing creativity and innovation, opening up new possibilities for businesses.

The human-AI synergy

In the quest for revenue growth, CFOs are not only investing in technology but also in their most valuable asset: their workforce.

They are focused on attracting and retaining talent, maintaining or improving organisational culture, reskilling or upskilling, and addressing employee work/life balance issues.

The integration of AI into the workforce is creating a new synergy between humans and machines. AI can take over repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more complex and creative tasks. This not only increases productivity but also improves employee satisfaction and retention.

However, the integration of AI into business operations presents several challenges. The survey highlights potential risks, including undesirable or harmful outputs and copyright violations.

These concerns underscore the need for robust AI governance and ethical guidelines.

Another significant concern is the potential for bias in AI systems. If the training data is biased, the AI system can also become biased, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.

Therefore, organisations must ensure that the data used to train their AI systems is unbiased and representative.

The road ahead: Balancing human and technological capital

As CFOs navigate the complexities of the current business environment, strategic investments in technology and workforce development remain paramount.

The survey reveals that over half of the CFOs anticipate an increase in their IT and digital transformation spending in the next 12 months, with cybersecurity being a key area of focus.

The integration of generative AI into business operations is a strategic move towards building a resilient and future-ready organisation.

As AI continues to evolve, it will play a crucial role in shaping the strategic decisions of CFOs, driving growth and innovation in the corporate world.

Looking ahead, CFOs will need to balance the potential benefits of generative AI with the associated risks. This will require a deep understanding of the technology, robust governance structures, and a commitment to ethical usage.

By doing so, CFOs can harness the power of generative AI to drive growth and innovation, while ensuring responsible use of this powerful technology.

As the survey suggests, the future is bright for those CFOs who can balance the human element with the power of AI, creating a synergy that drives growth and innovation.

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