Strategy

CFOs on tech trends in 2024

CFOs anticipate new uses of AI for finance departments in the new year.
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· 3 min read

Every CFO in 2023 had two words clattering around in the back of their minds, and you already know what they are: generative AI.

By the end of the year, you couldn’t have a conversation or attend a conference without hearing those two words over and over. To some finance chiefs, the burgeoning tech offered a clear directive to evolve—or die.

But all of this was less evident at the start of 2023, when many finance departments were blissfully unaware of the industry-wide shocks to come. Now, CFOs have weathered the AI hype, and they’re looking ahead to 2024 with more level-headed approaches to possible tech trends in the new year.

Interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Shannon Nash, CFO at Wing

Generative AI will continue to be hot in 2024. CFOs are not just using AI to make our finance tasks smoother; they are also getting their hands dirty understanding its bigger picture for the entire business. It’s a balancing act where, on one side, there’s endless possibility of what AI can do for us functionally, and on the other, there is a whole world of risks that we need to manage. We’re evolving into tech-savvy leaders prepared to juggle AI’s complexities in shaping business strategy and risk management. And as AI becomes a big player in the business world, both its costs and usage are shooting up, which makes it that much more imperative that a savvy CFO has in-depth knowledge of the space.

Ben Taylor, CFO at Exscientia

Even though I work at a company that uses AI across its operations, it is important to remember that AI is a tool, not an answer. I think of it more like the 1960s, when computers were first starting to emerge at scale. AI creates a massive shift in our capability, but it is the integration of that capability with purpose that creates change.

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I hope that 2024 will get us beyond the current AI hype and closer to appropriate utilization of AI. CFOs should be looking for areas where AI can optimize their operational goals. One area where the value of AI is clearly seen across industries is its use as an integration tool between diverse systems to enable deeper analytics and greatly improve efficiency.

For instance, Exscientia was founded over a decade ago, and we have learned how to use AI to link thousands of independent processes and models to effectively cut needless years out of drug design, with a goal of bringing better drugs to patients faster. Now we are integrating that virtual system directly into automation to design, make, and test molecules on a hands-free basis. AI is the backbone for that entire system, even though not all individual components are AI-related.

Sean Brecker, CFO at Oura

This year, I think we’ll start to see generative AI used by finance leaders to streamline a subset of their organization’s day-to-day workflows. In particular, manual repetitive tasks, like particular accounts payable actions, could be automated with novel AI solutions in 2024. I have already seen some compelling demos from startups trying to deploy AI in the finance tech stack. The pace of change is impressive and practical; usable solutions are around the corner.

Deanna Strable, CFO at Principal Financial Group

In 2024, we’ll likely see more organizations move from experimentation to more broad-based [AI] implementation squared off against the highest-priority opportunities. Technology is not only an enabler but also a strategic ally in shaping the future of financial services, and I expect continued, widespread adoption of more refined AI-enhanced tools for finance.

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.