Strategy

The year in tech, and you already know what it’s about

Yes, we know what dominated tech this year—but a closer look gives a snapshot of what’s to come in 2024.
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· 3 min read

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.

Take a wild guess about the focus of an article called “the year in tech,” and you’d be right. Yeah, you got us, this was the year generative AI officially took over.

But even if one thing dominated the entire tech conversation in 2023, take a closer look at how generative AI discussions evolved in the world of finance, and you’re left with a better sense of how 2024 might go.

Even though experts anticipate the continued spread of AI to function fundamentally differently than previous tech developments, for finance professionals, it’s been a fairly typical tech adoption cycle so far: excitement, caution, more excitement, more caution.

After its November 2022 debut, it was only a matter of months before ChatGPT totally dominated the public conversation, and at the start of 2023, finance chiefs were theoretically on board—but reticent.

In the months that followed, the tide started to change—so much so that you had CFOs in June saying generative AI was set to become part of our daily workflow. Knowing that AI was increasingly inevitable, CFOs started to question what made a truly “menial” task, and which parts of the finance function would continue to matter in the future.

At times, it felt like the entire finance field was set for imminent, radical upheaval. But by midsummer, AI excitement had grown so intense that some CFOs already felt certain AI-enabled jobs were losing their luster.

And along the way, there’s been a persistent chorus of challenges and concerns. In July, SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered a speech on some of AI’s potential risks to the financial system after AI-generated text (falsely) said he was resigning. And by August, a poll of more than 1,500 AI practitioners at global midsize to large organizations found data management was still a routine barrier to AI implementation. In late fall, Biden officially entered the chat, issuing the nation’s first executive order on AI, which built on existing AI protocols.

For finance chiefs, the AI executive order arrived at an interesting time, as the looming promise of the AI audit was becoming increasingly visible: A KPMG report from the end of October found that, in a poll of 200+ financial reporting leaders in the US this summer, 65% were already using AI in their job functions. Meanwhile, orgs like EY told CFO Brew they’d already started using AI tools in the audit process.

Yet with all these developments, an AI perception gap persisted, according to a study released around the same time by workforce management company UKG: Only 42% of employees thought they were using AI-enabled tools at work, while 80% of C-suite leaders said their orgs used AI.

After a yearlong vacillation between excitement and caution (and back again), in the new year, the employee POV could finally become more central, as finance and tech pros increasingly look for ways to implement an ethical AI framework at their orgs.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.