Sidestepping AI Mistakes in 2024

A new CFO survey shows how corporate financial executives can avoid technology-based landmines in the new year.

Planful, the Redwood City, Cal.-based financial performance management platform company, is out with a new survey of 1,000 chief financial officers and company finance decision-makers entitled “How Finance Leaders Can Avoid Surprises in 2024”.

The survey covers a quadrant of key issues facing CFOs in what promises to be a raucous new year. While three of those areas – workforce planning, strategic advisory, and financial planning software – are undoubtedly critical challenges for corporate finance officers in 2024, it’s the fourth issue that may take center stage.

That would be artificial intelligence and how AI specifically “won’t be an option for finance; it will be an expectation,” as Planful notes in its survey.

In the report, Planful cites Gartner’s now prominent outlook that only 8% of U.S. companies say generative AI “doesn’t have a place” in their financial operations.”

“In other words, 92% of your peers and competitors are already using or considering AI for finance and accounting process,” the report states.

“Ai is already removing the slow, tedious work finance teams dislike,” says Sanjay Vyas, CTO at Planful. “It can error-check millions of data points per second. What CFOs want now is finance-specific AI that delivers more accurate forecasts, builds seasonality-adjusted baseline budgets, and focuses their limited time where it matters most.”

49% of CFOs surveyed by Planful say they expect “generating financial reports” will be the top use case for AI in 2024, followed by “generating forecasts” at 46%.

Using AI on “Rolling Forecasts”

Planful says its clients are well underway on both corporate finance tasking fronts.

Rocket Software, an IT modernization and automation solutions company, is using Planful Predict AI-powered data management tool to pivot to rolling data forecasts. The software enables Rocket to “spot errors and guide the creation of more accurate, actuals-based forecasts.”

“We developed a repeatable forecasting process in Planful, and then quickly moved to rolling forecasts,” says Luis Martinez, senior manager of FP&A at Rocket Software “But when creating forecasts, we might not capture the seasonality of our business, for example. Planful Predict looks at our historical data and highlights anomalies where our inputs might not match with those historical trends. It is a great way to pressure test our assumptions and add value to our decision-making.”

“Basically, we can now make finance relevant to operations so we’re speaking the same language and can focus more on key strategic decisions,” Martinez noted.

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