CFOs’ stress levels on the rise, can AI help?

30 April 2019 | 4226 Shares

CFOs are under more pressure than ever. Source: Shutterstock

Three out of four CFOs say their stress levels will increase over the next two years, according to research from recruiter Robert Half.

This is largely due to the ongoing need to deal with economic uncertainty, regulation and scrutiny from board members – combined with the pressure to cut costs, increase revenue and forecast more accurately.

The top three causes are increased workloads (61 percent), increased business expectations (52percent) and short deadlines (31percent).

Can AI help, or is it just more hype?

The growth of AI is a trend which, according to a PwC Global Artificial Intelligence Study is predicted to contribute US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, with US$6.6 trillion likely to be generated from increased productivity.

While many are singing its praises, some say it could be a career killer to the finance function.

Obviously, CFOs need to be careful. When predictability, efficiency, and control are at the heart of your vocation, you can’t be chasing every fad that comes along.

New technologies are making things easier. Source: Shutterstock

Stepping back from the blare of advertising, marketing, and futurists, a CFO has many more pressing and perhaps prosaic concerns, like forecasts, budgets, cashflows, risk, reporting on outcomes from business strategies, finance structuring, managing teams and creating high-performance cultures.

However, AI can’t be discounted either, as in each of these roles it has the potential to become a component of the CFO’s toolkit – often moving the finance team out of ‘spreadsheet hell.’

Machine learning, in particular, has proven practical applications that can make the life of those working in the finance function easier and less stressful.

Machine learning: sharpening gut instinct with hard data

According to Dominic Parsons, CEO of CALUMO, one of the world’s leading business intelligence and corporate performance management solutions: “The real power of machine learning is its ability to augment our ‘gut instincts’ with hard data by creating the right discussions within the organization.

“It lets us regularly and effortlessly project forward a view on important trends to spark relevant discussions about next actions. Until now, getting those projections has been too time-consuming to regularly contemplate for many” he says.

As thought and product-leaders in corporate finance platforms in Australia and the US, CALUMO has possibly the most sensible attitude to artificial intelligence that we at TechHQ have seen in recent years.

Automating repetitive processes lifts a heavy burden from the finance function. Source: Shutterstock

According to Parsons, AI is most likely to track very closely with Amara’s Law (attributed to Roy Amara in the 1960’s/70’s) “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate its effect in the long run.”

Practical applications of machine learning in 2019

CFOs across the board are already looking to AI to free up their time to attend to forward guidance to the business, by automating routine processes, eliminating manual tasks and reducing the occurrence of errors.

According to a 2017 report by Forbes, we are not looking at a thinning workforce, but rather “a picture of a much more efficient, more strategic finance function is materializing.”

Indeed, it’s now possible to automate tasks that chew up valuable resources and put the brakes on operations. That’s why, based on real world, front line experience, CALUMO has produced a whitepaper for CFOs and members of the finance function discussing AI and machine learning in particular.

It breaks down AI’s practical applications, including how machine learning and automation can aid the CFO to free up time for more strategic work – and how to make the best use of AI in the 21st-century boardroom, including:

  1. Practical uses of AI, machine Learning and automation already being used by CFOs.
  2. Why many CFO’s are embracing these technologies.
  3. Steps you can take now to prepare for better integration with AI advances that will increase your value to your organization.

To download the report, visit the link here.