AI Adoption in Finance: 83% of Executives See the Value, but Just Over Half Have Implemented AI Technology

Career Climbers / 1st February 2024

Finance leaders acknowledge the promise of AI yet remain slow to implement the technology, reveals Paro in a new survey of 250 C-suite executives and senior managers in the accounting and finance sectors. Research shows 83% of finance executives acknowledge the importance of artificial intelligence (AI). However, 42% have yet to implement AI technology, underscoring a contradiction: AI adoption is not keeping pace with its potential.
• Close to two-thirds of finance teams partner cross-team beyond transactional support.
• However, 53% of finance teams lack advanced analytical skills – a barrier to maximizing AI.
• Of those using AI, 44% use AI for recruiting and hiring.
• That said, 86% of non-adopters plan to apply AI/ML in their long-term strategic planning, revealing a more positive long-term outlook.
• The top concern around AI adoption is cybersecurity (54%).

Cross-Team Collaboration Emerging Amid Persistent Skill Gaps

A significant 61% of finance teams have moved beyond traditional, more siloed roles and partnering cross-functionally. However, 53% do not have sufficient skills in advanced analytics – a key enabler for AI initiatives. This skill gap marks a significant challenge in fully leveraging AI and machine learning (ML) technologies.

Cautious AI Adoption Today, But Optimism for the Future

While 83% of leaders acknowledge AI’s importance, only 58% have implemented these technologies. Adoption is cautious around recruiting, with just 44% of adopters using AI to hire. However, 98% of companies that have already adopted AI technology and 86% of non-adopters say they will use AI for long-term planning, revealing a more encouraging outlook.

Cybersecurity and Human Judgement are Leading Concerns for AI adoption

Notably, cybersecurity and data security emerge as the leading concerns regarding AI and emerging intelligent technologies, cited by 54% of respondents. Additionally, 39% express apprehension about the potential loss of human judgement and oversight in AI-driven environments. This was the top concern for middle managers (55%), whereas only about a third (31%) of owners, partners and C-suite roles expressed concern. As AI progresses, retaining team members’ insights remains critical.


“AI holds enormous promise for the future of finance, but executing that promise requires focus,” says Anita Samojednik, CEO of Paro. “Teams must have the skills and data infrastructure to responsibly apply AI’s capabilities. By prioritizing upskilling while proactively addressing ethical concerns, finance leaders can unlock exponential gains in efficiency and insight over the next decade.”

This study shows that the finance sector clearly recognizes AI’s capabilities and value. But to realize its potential, teams must reskill employees in advanced analytics while addressing data security fears. With the right foundations, AI can profoundly augment finance operations.

Finance recognizes AI’s capability. But to realize its potential, teams must reskill employees in advanced analytics while addressing data security fears. With the right foundations, AI can profoundly augment finance operations.

Methodology

This survey was fielded in September 2023 using online interviews conducted in collaboration with Vitreous World. Respondents represented U.S.-based C-Suite executives or senior management in accounting or finance; the resulting sample was statistically representative.

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