Accounting Software » What is stopping 2 in 10 CFOs from embracing AI?

What is stopping 2 in 10 CFOs from embracing AI?

Over half (56%) of CFOs are preparing for a heightened demand to offer broader business counsel, stepping outside of their traditional financial domain

New research shows that 8 in 10 CFOs are embracing AI and automated processes to gain time to focus on more valuable tasks.

According to Sage, a provider of  accounting, financial, HR, and payroll technology for small and mid-sized businesses, this additional time enables them to develop the  skills necessary for success in more senior executive leadership.

However, however only 49% are utilising these capabilities. The opportunity of skills being leveraged as a result of incorporating tech and automation include: problem solving (79%), leadership (78%), understanding of technology and systems (78%), effective communication (77%), and confidence (77%).

‘At Sage, we constantly see how combining finance with technology gives CFOs the chance to step beyond their traditional roles, offering them a chance to guide their businesses with both flexibility and deeper insight,” says Steve Hare, CEO of Sage.

“It’s about leveraging technology to not only enhance their strategic role but also to broaden their influence within the business, setting the stage for a future where CFOs play a broader role in shaping their companies’ futures’.

Sage’s annual CFO research report, The Secrets of Successful CFOs, goes on to reveal how technology is enabling the top-performing CFOs to navigate the changing role of finance and take on greater business leadership.

The impact of CFO adoption of AI on business strategy

The report highlights that the role of finance has changed as a result of recent technological advances and increased global complexities, with 89% of CFOs stating their role is different to just a year ago.

Furthermore, the CFO role continues to intersect with other departments such as IT (60%), ESG/ sustainability (58%), sales (53%), operations (54%), and marketing (52%), as well as senior stakeholders such as CEO (59%), CTO (55%), CIO (57%) and CMO (51%).

This cross functional exposure is enabling CFOs to gain valuable insights into an organisation’s overall growth strategy, adding further business impact and value, whilst positioning them for a seamless transition into the CEO role.

Despite the challenges of expanding responsibilities and shifting economic priorities, finance professionals remain highly ambitious, with 1 in 2 finance leaders aiming for top leadership positions (47%).

Faith in new technologies is fuelling this ambition and optimism:

  • 96% of CFOs believe finance roles will change in their organisation over the next three years
  • 86% of CFOs think tech will have a major impact on their role in the future, with AI, machine-learning and automation cited as the biggest opportunities
  • 79% of CFOs say AI will bolster revenue growth in their organisations.

 The most successful finance leaders are focused on developing their understanding of technology, which has resulted in high adoption rates of technology within finance teams – 74% of respondents state over half of the finance processes in their organisation are automated.

This finance-led drive for technology has the potential to extend to company-wide initiatives. Over the next three years, 59% of CFOs expect to be implementing new technology and systems, highlighting the growing influence of the CFO over digital strategy.

“My role as CFO continues to evolve year on year; now more than ever, investing in technology has been crucial in saving me time whilst expanding the breadth of my role,” says Rob Beckman, CFO at Stark.

Other survey findings include:

  • 78% of CFOs say implementing AI in finance is not optional, but necessary to maintain a competitive edge for their organisations.
  • 77% of CFOs say investment in AI finance will help improve job satisfaction
  • 79% of CFOs say AI has the ability to revolutionise way of working in their organisations
  • 64% of finance leaders spend time on talent and employee management
  • 78% say automation of business processes has positively impacted their c-suite/board relationships
  • 81% say automated finance processes allow them to focus time on more valuable tasks
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