CFO Insights: Why Finance is Ready for a Breakout Transformation with AI

finance breakthrough with AI

Over the past few years, numerous finance departments have navigated this delicate equilibrium using intelligent technologies, such as process automation and predictive analytics. According to the SAP Concur CFO Pulse Survey, nearly 62% of finance leaders agree that artificial intelligence (AI) is an essential tool to manage the unexpected.1

Recent breakthroughs in generative AI now offer an opportunity to transform the finance function. However, according to Gartner, 18% of finance staff demonstrate digital competency compared with just 11% of their managers.2

“Everyone is talking about recent advancements in AI and trying to find a way to leverage it, but finance leaders have a responsibility to help their organization and business understand how AI can be applied in ways that are truly impactful for employees, customers, and other stakeholders.”– John DiPlacido, CFO, SAP North America

In our conversations with finance leaders worldwide, finance processes – including travel and expense (T&E) – emerged as a prime area of transformation with generative AI, and here are the 3 core focuses:

1. Focus on opportunities that improve the employee experience

As AI systems and automation continue to advance, 82% of finance departments believe their operations will become more efficient. However, this advantage is bringing up concern over whether machines and algorithms will eventually outperform tasks previously exclusive to human capabilities and lead to job loss and an urgent need to reskill the entire workforce. The key to turning fearfulness into productive outcomes is focusing AI innovations on what’s most important to the existing workforce.

2. Deliver personalisation while enhancing finance outcomes

Finance leaders have witnessed unprecedented demand for personalisation throughout the T&E user experience. Advancements in AI bring an opportunity to truly personalise experience in T&E processes while improving efficiency, cost reduction, and compliance, Whether booking travel, submitting expenses, or auditing reports, every user can get a curated set of recommendations, steps, and information that are relevant to their expectations and compliant with business requirements.

3. Build a technology infrastructure for the future of finance

Even the most profitable business models require supportive back-end structures, This strategy involves integrating spend and business data within a secure and accessible environment, helping ensure every employee can leverage AI-enabled predictive capabilities to make better decisions in real-time.

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Source 1: SAP Concur CFO Pulse Survey 2023
Source 2: Gartner Says Lack of Digital Skills Among CFOs Key Obstacle to Autonomous Finance, Gartner, March, 29, 2023.