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Study: Majority of CFOs Are Feeling Mounting Pressure to Automate the Finance Function

To better understand the impact of automation within finance departments, Vic.ai, the artificial intelligence (AI) platform for autonomous accounting and real-time insights, in partnership with StrategicCFO360 released a new study examining the challenges and opportunities Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) face in the current environment to automate the finance function with the resources and systems they have. The new study, titled “The Future of Automation and Intelligence within Enterprise Finance,” revealed that a majority of finance leaders are increasing their automation investments to stay competitive in the face of a tight labor market and rising operational costs.

The report, based on a May 2022 survey of 145 CFOs and other finance leaders across all industries, further found that 81% of CFOs recognize the potential of automation to optimize processes and resources and capture data insights across the finance function.

The study also found:

  • A plurality of polled CFOs recognizes the value of automating the finance function, with 61% reporting it has significant value.
  • 58% of CFOs plan to increase their investment in automation over the next 12 months, with nearly half expecting to achieve their goals within the next two years.
  • A quarter of CFOs report having already fully automated their payroll and invoice management processes, and approximately 45% say it’s underway in both.
  • Only 5% of CFOs say they have fully automated data analysis, but 34% plan to automate this function within two years.
  • The most common challenge faced by CFOs when automating the finance function is integration with their current systems, according to 61% of CFOs.
  • While increasing efficiency and productivity is by far the leading objective for CFOs to use automation, over half of CFOs are also seeking to generate more insights.
  • When looking at data collection, a resounding proportion of CFOs (81%) say they’re looking to optimize processes and resources with operational processing insights.

“This report revealed that finance leaders are ready to capitalize on the opportunities offered by AI and automation,” said Vic.ai CEO Alexander Hagerup. “Enterprise finance is at an inflection point, driven in part by the maturity and reliability of automation technologies. With rising operational costs and specialized talent becoming increasingly difficult to hire, the benefits of automation are clear – and the pressure to adopt intelligent, insightful technology is mounting. Those finance leaders who are going beyond digitization and adopting AI-powered automation are on the path to true autonomy, breaking away from the pack and positioning themselves to win.”

Enterprise finance is rapidly transforming into a more strategic function as pressure continues to build for CFOs to align and drive financial strategy with business strategy. In addition, the increasingly volatile global economy has accelerated the need for finance to be more agile and proactive in using data to identify the right financial levers to pull at any moment.

“I do believe that automation is the way to go,” said one survey respondent from the banking industry. “It is the only way that brick-and-mortar financial institutions will be able to compete with the fintechs and other digital forms of banking. We need to utilize AI to the fullest.”

Our firm is embarking on a digitalization journey, taking advantage of the tools already available internally and exploring new ones in the market,” reported another respondent from the pharmaceutical industry. “Our vision is to become a data-driven, innovative company, always looking forward to integrating business processes to market trends and proactively responding to the customers’ and consumers’ needs.”

Vic.ai was launched in 2017 to build fully autonomous AI systems that make finance and accounting teams more efficient, accurate, and intelligent. By handling time-consuming activities like invoice processing, Vic.ai’s solution helps enterprise customers such as HSB, Nordic Choice Hotels, Intercom Inc. and HireQuest, as well as top accounting firms like RSM LLP, PwC, BDO, and Armanino LLP redirect resources toward higher-value functions like spend intelligence, benchmarking and cost optimization. Over the past year, Vic.ai continued to push boundaries with new features, including Vic.ai Autopilot and Vic.ai Autonomous Approval Flows, which provide the foundation for truly autonomous accounting, as well as its upcoming Vic.ai Spend Intelligence, a first-of-its-kind prescriptive AI technology for advanced enterprise-grade cost optimization.

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