In this article, we will examine several key considerations related to AI readiness that Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) need to focus on to fully harness the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is set to bring significant changes to the evolving role of the CFO, particularly through its integration into the broader financial operations function. CFOs are increasingly required to offer real-time decision-making, interpret results and forecasts using data-driven insights, and lead automation initiatives. Therefore, embracing AI readiness is essential for CFOs to remain competitive and excel in a complex, data-centric business environment.
When implementing AI throughout an organization, it is essential to do so in a structured and coordinated manner. A strategy for achieving this is to form a steering committee focused on AI. This committee should consist of members from various departments, including, at the very least, experts in finance, operations, and technology. Its primary role is to guide the overarching AI strategy and ensure that its execution is harmonized across the organization. The main responsibilities of the committee include:
This diverse group of stakeholders enables the organization to approach AI in a well-rounded and informed manner.
When adopting AI, CFOs must dedicate significant time to thoroughly investigate the regulatory and compliance impacts of AI on their company, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. Understanding these implications is crucial for ensuring that the deployment of AI aligns with various legal and ethical standards. Examples of requirements to consider include:
By taking the time to understand these areas, CFOs can ensure that their organization’s AI adoption is not only compliant but also responsible, aligning with broader organizational values and maintaining the trust of customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.
For successful AI adoption, organizations must focus on engaging their workforce and cultivating buy-in. The CFO has a crucial role in this process, not just in aligning financial strategies with AI implementation but also in leading the drive for organizational alignment and skill-building in AI.
By taking a leadership role in this area, the CFO can help the organization navigate the changing landscape of AI, ensuring both technological advancement and people alignment.
For effective AI adoption, the CFO must work closely with IT to evaluate and enhance the necessary IT infrastructure. This collaboration is key in identifying and implementing the right technological foundations for AI. Essential IT considerations may include:
By collaborating on these IT considerations, the CFO can help ensure that the organization's IT infrastructure is adequately prepared for AI adoption, aligning technological capabilities with the company's strategic AI objectives.
The effectiveness of certain AI applications, including those involving machine learning and Generative AI (GenAI), are heavily reliant on the availability and quality of data. Therefore, data is a critical readiness area. Furthermore, GenAI can be greatly enhanced when using retrieval augmented generation (RAG).
RAG combines the power of information retrieval with GenAI models. It first retrieves relevant information from a large dataset and then uses this information to generate more accurate and contextually relevant outputs.
For businesses, it's vital to assess the quality and accessibility of their data, ensuring the following:
When addressing these considerations, finance leaders can also consider how to leverage GenAI as a tool for data collection and organization. GenAI has the capability to gather data and create structured formats for data points that were previously unstructured. This approach can enhance the overall effectiveness of their AI initiatives.
Artificial intelligence is set to significantly change the finance function and organizations as a whole. Those who are prepared stand to benefit greatly. It's important to understand the potential of AI and address key readiness issues as part of this process. When exploring AI and planning your adoption strategy, make sure to spend time evaluating your readiness and allocating resources to address essential readiness factors. This will help ensure you keep pace with the evolving landscape of AI.
At Connor Group, our AI subject matter experts stand ready to collaborate with you, providing practical AI solutions tailored to your organization's needs. By leveraging their insights and expertise, you can not only stay ahead of the AI curve but also build a powerful technology strategy that maximizes automation and value. As AI continues to evolve, let's embark on this exciting journey together, adapting and thriving in a world of boundless possibilities.
If you're seeking to adopt AI and looking to understand what key readiness tasks you need to address, contact Connor Group. Leveraging both our operational and technology expertise, we'll share our experiences and help you create practical AI roadmap.
Jason Pikoos - Managing Partner, Client Experience
Tim Brandt - Partner
Erik Olson - Director, Digital Solutions