The Integration of Artificial Intelligence in Financial Management is Becoming a Priority for CFOs

According to the international study on AI-driven finance by the publisher Onestream and the annual French survey PwC-DFCG on the priorities of financial management, CFOs are gradually integrating AI into their priorities. They see benefits in terms of data processing, automation, decision-making, and risk management.

It comes as no surprise that CFOs now consider the arrival of AI to be a major priority, with varying levels of maturity and very pragmatic objectives. This is evident from two studies conducted in 2023. The AI-driven finance report by the publisher Onestream and the PwC and DFCG (French association of financial directors and management control) survey on the 2024 priorities of financial management.

For instance, 80% of the respondents in the first study believe that AI will increase the productivity of financial management services by improving the efficiency and accuracy of business processes. More than half (55%) believe it will become a central component of these processes, and 37% intend to use it more frequently. The proportions are roughly similar (66% and 29%) for generative AI alone. In the PwC-DFCG survey, this intention to move towards AI is confirmed, with 45% of decision-makers planning to prioritize investment in the coming 3 years, compared to only 8% in 2023.

The quality of data and automation

In the Onestream study, the most cited benefits of streamlining processes through AI by companies already using AI are data correction (69%), cleaning (60%), and mapping (59%). Nearly half of the respondents also mentioned faster decision-making, improved analysis, and better-quality results. Overall, 73% believe that AI will help the company better anticipate and manage risks.

In France, according to the PwC/DFCG survey, the automation of manual and repetitive tasks (RPA) takes precedence, with an impressive proportion of 77% of responses, followed by the analysis of large amounts of financial data to identify market trends and models (33%), and the detection of fraud and the security of financial transactions (32%).

The analysts at PwC consider that generative AI specifically “proves to be a major asset for CFOs, offering virtual assistance in condensing and synthesizing information, as well as enriching and extracting complex data. […] Paired with document processing technologies, it can extract important information from documents such as contracts, invoices, and purchase orders. It is capable of scanning large numbers of documents to facilitate document analysis and review, identify risks and specific clauses, analyze accounting and financial implications, and compare contracts to identify useful differences or similarities when establishing new contracts.”

With regards to human resources and skill sets, 46% of respondents see AI as a threat to CFO functions, while 72% believe it will create new opportunities. The latter rely on the classic argument that AI would allow teams to get rid of tedious automatable tasks in favor of more rewarding tasks.

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