Technology, and the speed and agility it provides, gave many companies an edge as they quickly adapted to the chaos of 2020. Now, with CFOs and the c-suite reliant on constant re-forecasting and fast scenario planning, FP&A are looking for a return to normal, at least where working hours are concerned. So CFOs are relying on technology again to automate and eliminate complexity, reduce the stress on Finance, and help uncover opportunities to stay ahead of the competition. To keep you up to speed on the latest FP&A thinking, below is a quick recap of these and other topics. We’ve found these articles helpful, and hope you do, too.
Viewing AI as just for automation is short sighted, says Gartner. To really reap the benefits, CFOs must focus on transforming how their business operates by putting AI to work in areas of higher value. Those gaining the most from AI are using it to inform and enhance worker effort rather than just eliminate manual tasks. “AI will probably be the most important investment that you’ll make in finance, and maybe the broader enterprise for the next 10 years.”
Machine learning and natural language processing can find errors, outliers, and trends in mountains of data that humans would likely miss. For Finance specifically, that ability to process large amounts of data is bringing accuracy and efficiency to the role. “Experts suggest that the finance industry and AI are a match made in heaven.”
Over 90% of Gen Zers say they’d trust AI to manage their organization’s finances over their finance team. That sounds shocking at first glance, but the underlying message is that the organizations that don’t embrace AI are likely to fall behind competitors, make bad decisions, and experience higher turnover from burnout. “Many Gen Zers and Millennials who use artificial intelligence in their personal lives are starting jobs where they manage finances using spreadsheets, and they’re left thinking ‘what in the world is going on?’”
Technology and Talent
If you think talent is disconnected from digital transformation, you’re mistaken on what your workers really value. Executiving hiring is now above pre-pandemic levels, which means you’re trying to fill roles while your current team is being offered new opportunities. Flexibility in work location, the chance to work with new technologies, and remote work options are all digital-enabled perks recruits are going to demand. “If an organization doesn’t have a model responsive to employees’ new expectations, current team members may leave for a firm that does. This is particularly true in a function like finance and accounting, where skillsets are industry agnostic.”
Deloitte: CFO Signals™: Q1 2021
CFO optimism continues to climb, according to a Deloitte survey. Those citing current conditions as “good” rose by more than 50% over last quarter. That has two-thirds of CFOs saying it’s a good time to take risks, especially on talent retention, growth, and digital transformation as it relates to finding and retaining the best workers for Finance. “Data analytics and forecasting are the skillsets CFOs would most like to bolster on their finance teams. Skills in technology, digital, and automation were the next most-often cited.”
What fueled Finance through the pandemic—agility, technology, and resilient leadership—are what’s going to separate the leaders from laggards in the post-pandemic economy. Reverting back to the legacy, siloed ways might be seen as safe and easy, but survival requires keeping up with those competitors who’ve transformed how they operate. “Technology will make the greatest impact on businesses in the immediate to short term, and the initial survival of business will depend on how rapidly businesses embrace technology to drive their own operations and also link up with others to build upon possible synergies.”
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