Finance AI research: higher adoption of AI reduces job dissatisfaction and improves finance's position within the business

15/12/2023
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Workday, leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, publishes the Global CFO AI Indicator Report  revealing AI trends, current adoption rates, sentiment and challenges faced by CFOs and their teams.

The report shows that executives in finance are adopting artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance human potential and gain competitive advantage. Many have even become AI pioneers - organisations that have invested the most in AI and adopted AI. Over three quarters (77 per cent) say they have embraced AI to work faster, find opportunities to reduce risk and deliver strategic value to their businesses.

AI is becoming mainstream at a time when finance leaders are experiencing dissatisfaction: a third (34 per cent) expressed dissatisfaction with the number of administrative tasks their teams have to complete. Among AI pioneers in finance, this figure has fallen to 23 per cent.A higher level of AI adoption thus correlates with reduced dissatisfaction with specific job responsibilities.

Also, 28 per cent are dissatisfied with how their role is perceived by the rest of the organisation. The adoption of AI puts executives in a better position to add new business value. There is huge potential here forfinance executives to gain or strengthen their position as key business enablers among their C-suite colleagues.

AI creates crucial insights and efficiencies in finance
Executives in finance recognise the importance of an AI strategy to gain a competitive advantage in the current climate. The survey shows that better decision-making (24 per cent) and operational efficiency (20 per cent) are the top two drivers for adopting AI within the finance function.

Tim Wakeford, vice president of financial product strategy at Workday, says: "Finance may be seen as a more risk-averse segment of the business, but it is one of the most promising when it comes to innovation and change. According to our research, organisations cannot afford to wait much longer when it comes to adopting AI because they risk falling behind. CFOs and finance teams that embrace AI, build a robust data strategy, improve performance and manage risk will be well prepared to generate high-quality insights, protect and grow business value, and enable the organisation to navigate future opportunities and challenges with greater agility."

Confidence in AI grows rapidly
The survey shows that insights, talent and efficiency are the areas where finance leaders expect AI to deliver the greatest benefits. More than half (52 per cent) of AI pioneers in finance believe AI will be a game changer for the finance function, compared to 39 per cent of finance executives overall. Similarly, 48 per cent of AI pioneers in finance claim that these technologies will enable them to deliver more strategic value; other executives in finance are just below at 40 per cent.

The greatest confidence lies mainly in increased revenue and profits, with almost half (43 per cent) of AI pioneers seeing the opportunity, compared with 30 per cent of executives in finance as a whole.

Retaining finance talent and beating shortages with AI
Many executives in finance are feeling the effects of the talent crisis, making traditional high-touch, human-intensive business models difficult to sustain. The power and potential of AI for the finance function are clear and will address some of the talent gaps. However, future leaders in finance must have AI literacy to reap the benefits. Not surprisingly, 30 per cent are concerned that finance staff will lack the technical skills to work effectively with AI, jeopardising future adoption.

As a result, finance executives are leaving their ability to work closely with new technologies, such as AI and ML (25 per cent), wanting to enable their teams to continuously meet the needs of the business. Advanced analytics and data visualisation and data literacy/data-driven decision-making (both 24 per cent) are most important as AI and ML become more integrated within finance and procurement.

Use cases prove the added value of AI
In summary, the survey shows the three main areas where finance and procurement teams can get the most immediate value from AI and ML technology applications. These are improving forecasting and budget decisions (34 per cent); supporting strategic planning across all business units (32 per cent), and improving scenario planning (both 32 per cent). One of Britain's largest mortgage banks, Coventry Building Society, is seeing the benefits of AI: the company is achieving a three-day closure thanks to Workday's implementation and has standardised 80 per cent of its reporting.

Finance professionals, at whatever level, are optimally positioned to harness the potential of AI in their day-to-day work, navigating macroeconomic shifts and freeing up time to work on more valuable, strategic tasks. Furthermore, the finance function can emerge as a true changemaker within the organisation, by expanding its traditional roles and adding new business value to gain a competitive advantage.

Visit the website for more information on how Workday  is helping companies in the finance sector, or download the full report here.

Methodology:

The 2023Global AI Indicator survey examined the impact of AI on global enterprises. It surveyed 2,355 senior executives, paying close attention to what leaders in HR, IT, finance and procurement had to say. This report compiles the responses of the 640 finance leaders surveyed - who made up 27% of the total sample - to provide decision-makers with a contemporary perspective on the role of AI and ML within finance.

AI pioneers: AI adoption index methodology:

To track the maturity of AI adoption and understand how organisations are benefiting from AI and ML, adoption scores* were analysed. Respondents could be categorised into three tiers:
Top third, with an average adoption score of 89
Middle third, with an average adoption score of 54

The top third are AI pioneers. Of this top tier, IT leaders make up the largest proportion of respondents (32%), followed by HR (26%), finance and procurement (24%) and CEOs (18%).

*The adoption score reflects an organisation's level of investment in AI and ML technologies, the progress of using AI and ML to improve workforce capacity, and the maturity level of AI and ML adoption.

To arrive at the adoption score, three key questions from the survey were analysed and weighted to each answer option as follows:


Bottom third, with an average adoption score of 12

  • Question 2_1: Use the scale to indicate the degree of progress made in your organisation. Respondents were asked to select one response option on a scale of 1 (no progress made) to 5 (significant progress made). Responses were then weighted from 'no progress made' to 'significant progress made'.
  • Question 4_1: Which of the following best describes your organisation's current level of AI and ML adoption? Respondents were asked to select one response option on a scale from 'not yet started' to 'mature'.
  • Question 5_1: What percentage of your organisation's annual budget is currently invested in AI and ML? Respondents were asked to select one answer option on a scale of '0%' to 'more than 50%'.

Based on the above responses, the average adoption score across the entire cohort of 2,355 respondents was 54. Among the top group of respondents (AI Pioneers), the average adoption score is 89. Among the bottom group of respondents, the average adoption score is 12. This is standard for index methodology.

About Workday
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources,, helping customers adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing world. Workday applications for financial management, human resources, planning, cost management and analytics are developed with artificial intelligence and machine learning at their core. In doing so, Workday helps organisations around the world embrace the future of work. Workday is used worldwide by more than 10,000 organisations across industries - from mid-sized companies to more than 50 per cent of Fortune 500 companies. For more information, visit www.workday.com.

© 2023 Workday, Inc. All rights reserved. Workday and the Workday logo are registered trademarks of Workday, Inc. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

Forward-looking statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including, among other things, statements relating to Workday's plans, beliefs and expectations.

These forward-looking statements are based solely on information currently available and our current beliefs, expectations and assumptions. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and beyond our control. If risks materialise, assumptions prove incorrect, or we experience unexpected changes in circumstances, actual results may differ materially from those implied by these forward-looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on forward-looking statements.

Risks include, but are not limited to, risks described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended 31 July 2023, and other reports we have and will file from time to time with the SEC, which may cause actual results to differ from expectations. Workday does not undertake, and does not intend, to update any such forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.

Any unreleased services, features or functions referred to in this document, on our website or in other press releases or public statements not currently available are subject to change at Workday's discretion and may not be delivered as planned or at all. Customers purchasing Workday services should make their purchasing decisions based on services, features and functions that are currently available.

Read more: here.

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