Ninety percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) are projecting higher AI budgets in 2024, and none are planning a reduction, according to recent survey by Gartner.

In December 2023, Gartner polled 302 CFOs and senior finance leaders to understand how budgets and spending are changing in 2024.

Seventy-one percent of CFOs surveyed plan to boost spending on AI by 10% or more compared to last year. Generative AI plays a big role in this increase as 81% of CFOs are projecting to spend more in this area.

“As organisations venture further down the AI path, executives must agree on their ultimate goals for use of this technology,” says Alexander Bant, chief of research in the Gartner Finance practice. “CFOs should complement increased spending on AI with critical C-suite discussions about the organization’s AI ambition.”

The 2024 Budget Priorities for CFOs report revealed that technology is the top of the list for increased budgets in 2024, with 82% of CFOs planning to spend more than last year. A closer look at these fast-growing technology budgets revealed an emphasis on AI.

“As AI spending increases, CFOs have a unique role to play both in determining how it will impact finance department structure, and – given their holistic understanding of core business value drivers that this technology could put at risk – in establishing proper enterprise-wide governance that balances opportunity and oversight,” adds Bant.

To ensure AI funds are spent wisely, CFOs should work with the C-suite to establish an organisation’s vision for the technology.

“Establishing an AI vision means working out whether the organisation will use AI to improve existing business or operating models, or to go further and create fundamentally new ones,” says Bant. “Moreover, it means deciding whether AI will be an internal operations tool or a something facing external customers.”