New Study: It’s Slow Going for AI Implementation in Corporate Finance

CFO’s are taking their time on deciding the best AI strategy for their firms.

Artificial intelligence is taking the world by storm, bull rushing into an estimated $407 billion market by 2027. The technology’s impact on world economies will be just as substantial, with AI expected to trigger a 21% net increase in the US gross domestic product alone by 2023, according to Forbes.

For all the hyperbole over AI, one c-suite category is taking a slower, more measured approach to AI implementations – the chief financial officer’s office.

While 42% of U.S. CFO’s say their companies are “experimenting” with AI, according to Deloitte’s third quarter of 2023 CFO Signals report, only 15% say they are physically “building AI into their strategy” in 2023.

While every ground-breaking technology, from the printing press to robotics, has their growing pains, AI appears to have generated a great deal of enthusiasm with the media, technology aficionados, and with the general public, CFO’s seem to be something of an exception.

While 24% of U.S. CFO’s told Deloitte AI was either important (18%) or very important (6%) to their companies, 42% say the technology is either “not important” (22%) or “not very important”.

“That leaves more than one-third of the nation’s CFO’s not yet weighing in on whether generative AI is important or not to their organization’s business strategy,” Deloitte states. “For 17% of CFO’s, it’s too soon to tell where their organization stands on its AI journey, but nearly one-quarter of corporate financial officers indicate their organizational leaders are reading and talking about the technology.”

Suggestive of the rising “piece-meal” approach CFO’s are taking to AI implementation is the mixed sentiment on how artificial intelligence should be used inside growth-minded companies.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, HP Inc. CFO Marie Myers says she’s “aggressively looking” for useful ways to inject AI into the company’s workflow. One area of heavy use could be earnings season preparation and execution. At HP, Myers envisions a “heavy process” which would entail “the preparation of appropriate documents” to see “what works and what doesn’t.”

“We see this as an opportunity to take a lot of work out of that process and potentially actually drive a much more effective outcome,” she says.

At food delivery giant Door Dash, CFO Ravi Inukonda said he expects AI to become “part of our daily workflow” in comments to CFO Brew.

Inukonda believes CFO’s should take a long-term view on AI, which seems to fit the “no big rush” vibe surrounding the corporate finance sector’s view of artificial intelligence right now.

“Think about the next five, ten years, right? Businesses are going to get more complicated. I think there’s going to be a lot more data available for CFOs to make decisions to help drive business outcomes,” Inukonda notes “What I think is going to happen is, CFOs will need to stay at the cutting edge of using data, analytics, and AI to be able to help drive decision-making in the business as well as in business outcomes.”

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