Strategy

Making the right AI investments

Here’s what we expect to learn at Gartner’s CFO conference.
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· 3 min read

CFO Brew recently spoke with Alexander Bant, chief of research for CFOs, ahead of next week’s Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference about some of the biggest opportunities and challenges facing finance leaders and their teams.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Do you expect AI to be front and center at the conference?

At the CFO and finance executive conference, we’re looking at both applications of AI and generative AI in the finance function, and even more prominently, looking at AI and finance’s role in AI across the enterprise. We’re actually starting off with our keynote address on the first morning, looking at the major stalls that organizations will hit across their enterprise as they go to invest in AI. And we’ll be looking at [the] CFO’s role in avoiding these stalls.

Finance is in the spotlight today to make sure that the enterprise is spending correctly, managing data correctly, thinking through decision-making correctly around AI, and upholding their financial brand in the market in the sense of using AI. And so finance has a huge role to play there.

Where do you see AI having the most potential impact in organizations?

In the back offices of finance, in accounting, and processes, and transactions, AI is a time saver. AI will rapidly shave time and resources off of our key processes that need to be fulfilled by the finance function…in the front office, AI and generative AI will give us new, enhanced ways of looking at the business, seeing risks, understanding demand, forecasting things better, seeing around corners. We’re actually seeing not as much of a time displacement or resource reallocation in the front office. It’s more of the creativity of, what will this thing be able to do to support us to be more competitive in our enterprise holistically?

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What are some big topics you’re focused on outside of technology?

We are in an era of productivity. CFOs are under the microscope to drive more top-line growth, while improving bottom line and margin over time. So, CFOs are spending a lot of time thinking about their enterprise, thinking about where there’s trapped value, [and] understanding a return on investment from various resources and projects. And so, we’ve got a multitude of sessions helping CFOs play the role of internal activist investor in their enterprise, think through reallocation of resources to support this concept that’s kind of efficient growth, or top- and bottom-line growth. We’re looking at the future of the labor market and how to rethink human productivity in the face of that.

What else are you looking forward to discussing?

One of the biggest things that CFOs are struggling with is developing, they call it building a delegation-ready leadership bench, which basically means that direct reports to the CFO across the board feel like they are not stepping up to deliver what the CFO needs in order to drive transformation, achieve enterprise success for the CFO to take on more responsibilities, or be promoted or take on a bigger CFO role. And so, we’ve designed a lot of roundtable discussions and workshops around helping CFOs think through diagnosing why that is and then building forward-looking plans around that.

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.