CFO’s Turn to New Worries About AI

Chief financial officers aren’t worried about losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. Now, they’re pivoting to new anxieties.

Sentiment on the ground is beginning to shift away from career concerns about artificial intelligence and toward operations concerns, chief financial officers say in a new survey that tracked the current sentiments of over 300 CFOs and corporate finance leaders.

The report by SAP Concur, “Repositioning for Growth,” noted that CFOs cite the fact that there’s “little they know” about AI about two years into the technology’s emergence worldwide. The survey also notes that CFOs are “pressing ahead with AI projects,” just the same as financial executives try to balance their learning curve even as artificial intelligence decisions are being made with the highest stakes in mid-2024.

“Anxiety about the existential threat from AI has eased as CFOs get used to the new technology,” Christopher Juneau, head of SAP Concur’s market strategy. Now, “only 27% of CFOs still believe AI is a “threat to their own position.” That’s about 50% less than a similar survey by SAP in the winter of 2024, Juneau stated.

A Distinct Lack of Knowledge

Here are some other key takeaways from the survey:

• 58% of CFOs say they know “very little” about artificial intelligence.

• Only 4% say they have a “strong knowledge” about the groundbreaking technology.

• 63% of CFOs are pressing onward with major “cutting edge” technology investments in mid-2024. That’s up from 30% since the last SAP study, suggesting senior financial executives don’t want to be left behind as AI storms through the global business sector.

• On AI investments alone, 51% of CFOs have already deployed AI tools and applications inside their companies, up from 15% in mid-2023.

Technology mavens say the ebbing career threat is understandable as AI training and education become pervasive in the C-Suite. But that sentiment gives way to new tensions about AI among senior financial decision-makers.

“It’s human nature to fear the change that new technologies may introduce,” said technology industry analyst Gang Du in a May 23 X post. “But a little time and exposure may assuage these fears. “This appears to be the case with finance leaders and the latest advancements in artificial intelligence.”

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