CFOs Want AI Training for Employees

Amidst fears that staffers aren’t getting it with AI tools, CFOs tell Deloitte they want to get more aggressive about artificial intelligence skills training.

U.S. chief financial officers aren’t at the point of bringing in external artificial intelligence talent. However, according to Deloitte’s latest CFO Signals Survey for the first quarter of 2024, they plan to speed up plans to train current staffers on AI usage inside the workplace.

Summary of the study:

• For 60% of surveyed CFOs, bringing in talent with Generative AI (GenAI) skills into their finance organizations over the next two years ranges from moderately important to very or extremely important.
• Talent rose to the top as the biggest concern impacting GenAI adoption in the finance function. CFOs identified GenAI technical skills (65%) and GenAI fluency (53%) as two of the top three most significant concerns.

If CFOs seem stuck on AI training, they view skills learning as a non-negotiable portion of a company’s artificial intelligence deployment. That vision extends across the company.

According to Deloitte, when asked which top five functions their enterprise is exploring for the adoption of GenAI, CFOs listed their top departmental priorities as follows:

  • 64% of CFOs indicated IT as the top GenAI area for employee training.
  • 54% said business operations.
  • 50% pointed to customer/client services.
  • 49% said finance.
  • 38% noted sales and marketing.

Additionally, most CFOs (70%) say they’re pegging GenAI productivity hikes of up to 10%.

An Emphasis on In-House Training

Yet even this estimate depends on an adequately trained workforce for GenAI. In the Deloitte survey, CFOs cite GenAI technical skills (65%), GenAI fluency (53%), and the risk of adoption (30%) as the” top three most-cited concerns in enabling finance teams to use the technology.”

That doesn’t mean the corporate finance department will bring in new AI talent from outside the company. Most chief financial officers say their goal is to train and develop existing talent instead of hiring external talent, Deloitte reported.

“Talent continues to bubble to the top of these conversations — from both a concern and an opportunity perspective,” says Steve Galluci, national managing partner, U.S. CFO program at Deloitte. “This quarter’s report reveals CFOs’ recognition of the importance of digital fluency both in the enterprise and in their own finance organization — although the pace of adoption may vary. Longer term, it appears that digital skills will likely become increasingly integrated into the finance team’s toolkit, and into CFOs’ suite of responsibilities.”

Expect that push for ‘digital fluency’ to extend across the entire company.

“We are seeing GenAI continue to rise on the agenda of CFOs as they explore ways for this innovative technology to augment value for their organization,” says Jason Girzadas, US CEO of Deloitte. “CFOs are at the forefront to guide strategic investments that will upskill both their finance function and the organization at large and recognize that achieving success in today’s business landscape will require digital fluency across all functions of the organization.”

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