The Future of the Digital CFO (Part 2): Why AI-Driven Automation Is a CFO’s Best Friend

Dan Rogney

In Part 1 of the Future of the Digital CFO blog series, we learned about the evolution of the Office of the CFO, some of the biggest challenges fueling change, and what priorities today’s Finance leaders should emphasize to embrace their expanding responsibilities and build a foundation of substantive, long-term value.

Part 2 continues this conversation, exploring the role that technology such as AI-driven automation plays in helping advance the CFO’s agenda and some of the most strategic business benefits that can be expected.

Upgrading the CFO’s digital toolkit

Top-performing CFOs undoubtedly recognize the need to embrace technology as a means of modernizing the Finance function. In fact, 44% of CFOs view “capability building” and “advanced technologies” as the most effective ways to build their organization’s resilience.*

But not every tool is created equal. To truly become the architects of value, change and resilience their companies need them to be, CFOs must broaden their horizons beyond elemental technology (i.e., ERP systems) to something more expansive and impactful that better aligns with their evolving roles.   

For many CFOs, that technology is automation — particularly solutions powered by AI technology — thanks, in large part, to its ability to “cast a wide net” and address the root causes of operational silos in key Finance processes such as:

  • Accounts payable. Automation and AI technologies help eliminate many of the manual pains common to AP teams, delivering:
    • Greater efficiency via automated invoice approval
    • Improved access & collaboration around AP data
    • Enhanced control to reduce fraud risk & stay compliant
    • Increased savings by capitalizing on discounts
    • Satisfied suppliers through timely, accurate payments
  • Accounts receivable. Within AR, these same AI-driven solutions work remove the obstacles preventing timely cash collection, resulting in:​
    • Faster collections via automated tasks & predictive analytics
    • Improved decisions with better cash collection forecasting
    • Faster allocation through AI-powered efficiencies
    • Instant visibility into all customer actions & performance
    • Happier customers thanks to more strategic relationships

Strategic business benefits  

When making a significant digital investment, the new Office of the CFO needs an ROI that aligns with the pace of change. That’s what makes AI-driven solutions so appealing: Not only do they easily integrate with whatever business applications are already in place, their impact goes far beyond immediate, process-driven priorities to more strategic benefits such as:

  • Cashflow position that’s healthier & more stable. Automation’s real financial impact is how it bolsters a company’s cash and credit health by allowing you to:
    • Capture early pay discounts & avoid late fees
    • Remove bottlenecks that slow down collection & allocation
    • Reduce fraud & other risks
  • Employees who feel fulfilled & appreciated. Employees will always be the straw that stirs the organizational drink. Automation keeps them (and CFOs) happy by enhancing their jobs with:
    • More dignified, meaningful & impactful work
    • Less stress & more autonomy
    • Increased well-being & career-pathing
  • Decision making that’s guided by “good” data. Automation helps align and integrate data by equipping Finance teams with custom dashboards for:
    • Real-time data tracking
    • Predictive forecasting
    • Performance monitoring
  • Business growth & continuity in any circumstance. Have a generalized feeling of pessimism about the future? You’re not alone. Fortunately, automation is a great tool for CFOs looking to adopt a more “glass is half full” mindset by helping their business:
    • Improve cash position
    • Attract & retain staff
    • Scale & adapt quicker

Learn more

Still have unanswered questions about the future of digital CFOs? Discover more strategies for becoming an architect of value, change in resilience in this ebook.

CFOs’ balancing act: Juggling priorities to build resilience. August 31, 2023. McKinsey & Company.

Author Bio

Dan Rogney

As Esker’s Senior Copywriter, Dan plays a central role in creating thought-provoking marketing content designed to educate and engage audiences on the benefits of document process automation. When he’s not writing, you’re likely to find him poring over a good book, shamelessly playing with his daughter’s toys, or Googling the best ways to remove cat hair from clothing.

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