Sixty-eight percent of finance organisations are using AI or plan to use the technology, according to a recent survey of finance leaders by Gartner.

A May 2023 survey of 133 finance leaders found that 39% of respondents are using AI/machine learning (ML), and an additional 29% of respondents said AI/ML is planned.

“The most successful AI-forward finance organisations embrace and evangelise AI at the C-suite level and embed data science teams directly within finance departments while avoiding reliance on third parties,” says Mark McDonald, senior director analyst in the Gartner Finance Practice. “It’s only when employees embrace AI as a co-worker rather than a threat to their jobs that organizations see the highest likelihood and magnitude of success.”

AI in finance success strategies
To help CFOs and finance leaders navigate this trend, Gartner experts have identified three characteristics of the most successful finance organisations using AI today:

* Shorter-term results are possible, but transformative results take time. Although short-term benefits from AI are possible through simple or purchased solutions, the transformative value of AI in finance requires a level of maturity that takes time to build.

* Data science emerges are a new role in finance. A majority of finance teams report using data scientists. Once seen as a risky and frivolous headcount, modern finance teams commonly use data scientists whether they leverage AI or not.

* Acceptance plays a role in AI’s success. Organisations with a high level of AI acceptance report a high level of success. Without the buy-in from knowledgeable process owners, building AI-driven processes that emulate their decisions and actions proves difficult.

“These three quite simple factors have an impact on success rates with AI in the finance functions,” says McDonald. “Put the data scientists close to the processes and people that will train AI, make sure those people understand that AI can make their jobs easier and give them the time needed to produce transformative results.”