CFO’s Don’t Want the Job of Implementing AI – They’re Delegating the Job to Others

Chief financial officers are born delegators, and that goes double when installing an artificial intelligence program.

The numbers on corporate AI implementation are stacking up and in one key area – who’s actually supervising AI rollouts – it seems the C-suite is content to delegate the task with chief financial officers playing a critical role.

Companies are taking their own unique approach to AI but one common denominator is that CFO’s don’t want the job and are delegating out AI plan implementation in huge numbers.

Overall, 59% of CFOs delegating AI “hands on” management to their company’s technology department, mainly to the chief information, chief technology officer, or chief data officer’s realm, according to Deloitte’s most recent “CFO Signals” report for the third quarter of 2023.

What’s more, about one-third of CFO’s want to spread AI program ownership around in the IT department and in some cases, with oversight from accounting and business departments to keep a sharp eye on spending. A small minority (9%) of CFO’s are steering AI implementation oversight to “individual functional leaders, individual business unit leaders, and chief strategy officers (or equivalent)”, the Deloitte report notes.

Why won’t CFO’s take on the task of direct AI implementation management? For a few reasons, the report states.

“CFO’s reported they want use cases, as well as the evaluation of the costs, benefits and returns of adopting and deploying generative AI to help them making decisions related to the technology,” Deloitte states. “They also say a greater understanding of the risks and limitations of GenAI and more knowledge and information on its potential would be helpful in decision making.”

Additionally, CFO’s want to augment that information gathering process with a “better understanding of needed data quality and controls, organizational readiness, and clear guidelines and regulations as helpful in making informed decisions on AI” within the company.

Of the above, AI use cases is the largest CFO priority in gathering data on a company’s artificial intelligence rollout (39% of CFO’s say so), while cost evaluations (28%) and a proper understanding of risks when deploying AI tools (16%), Deloitte reports.

Once an AI platform is up and running, CFO’s told Deloitte their biggest benefit goals were cost reduction (52%, improve the customer/client experience (50%), and increase margins and productivity (45%). Interestingly, 6% of CFO’s said they wanted their AI platforms to “disrupt competitors”.

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