Unlocking Potential: Gen AI in Finance

June 18, 2024
Season 5, Episode 31

In this episode of the Business Excelleration® Podcast, Vin Kumar, Kevin Church and Ramiro Ortiz explore how generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) is reshaping finance and how leaders are adapting. From engaging stakeholders to embracing new technologies and bridging skills gaps, they delve into the strategies guiding organizations of all sizes through this transformative period.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,”where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Vin Kumar, lead of the Gen AI Advisory Program at The Hackett Group. He is joined by Kevin Church and Ramiro Ortiz, principals and leaders in The Hackett Group’s Finance Transformation practice.

To begin, Kevin shares that most companies are looking to their chief financial officers (CFOs) for a plan on integrating generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) into their organization. CFOs are not typically savvy in this area and are looking for answers to help support their organization. Finance typically owns global business services, so there is a huge opportunity in that area for Gen AI. This is why so many finance functions are spearheading the journey. With confusion around what AI really is, finance teams should bring in key stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same terms with definitions, objectives, benefits and tools.

Ramiro is working with companies to help them determine opportunities within their finance function. How they approach Gen AI depends solely on the client and where they are in their own technology journey. The ones with robotic process automation solutions in place have perspective of what is possible but need additional help learning about other technologies that could support them. Companies that have no solutions in place benefit from an instigation session to discuss processes and highlight specific areas. Engaging with all stakeholders ensures that the solutions will fit into their specific environments. So far, Ramiro has received positive reactions about the potential of AI but confusion on how to actually employ it. One solution for AI may be to capture the knowledge and expertise of employees who are nearing retirement.

First, CFOs need a point of view to establish a plan, goals and an objective on how to get started adopting this new technology to meet their culture. Larger operations need to ensure that functions eventually develop their own capabilities to support and operate on their own. This can vary depending on company size. On the other hand, smaller companies have more of a mindset of experimentation in the areas of product development and research and development.

Before wrapping up, Kevin offers advice for finance leaders embarking on their own Gen AI journey. Point of view is crucial for every organization to have. Identify the areas in which the organization has gaps to determine how to best leverage tools to fill in those gaps for optimal scaling. CFOs looking at their needs and staffing challenges should ask themselves how AI can help them build their future to be less dependent on today’s manual activities.

Time stamps:

0:49 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Vin Kumar.

1:20 – How finance leaders are looking at Gen AI.

2:47 – How companies are determining opportunities for Gen AI.

4:45 – Engaging with all stakeholders.

5:35 – The risks, challenges and apprehensions.

7:10 – Expectations of CFOs.

11:24 – Advice for finance leaders.