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Are finance teams ready to embrace Artificial Intelligence?

Most finance teams are not embracing new technologies and lack the skillset to help organisations achieve enterprise-wide digital transformation, according to a new joint report from CIMA, the AICPA and Oracle plc.

Agile Finance Unleashed: The Key Traits of Digital Finance Leaders revealed that an overwhelming majority (89%) of finance teams have yet to implement AI in the finance function and only 10% believe their teams have the necessary skillset to support the organisation’s digital ambitions.

The study of more than 700 global finance leaders also found a clear correlation between the deployments of AI and revenue growth. According to the report, 46 percent of tech-savvy finance leaders saw positive revenue growth, compared with only 29 percent of tech-challenged leaders. 

“To thrive in our new digital era, finance professionals need digital intelligence to understand how to best leverage technology to create value for the business,” said CIMA Regional Vice President Dr. Sara Bux . “Our Charted Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Competency Framework is a great tool to help employers and finance professionals identify and assess competency gaps. We recently updated it to include a focus on digital, in addition to the four existing knowledge areas of technical, business, leadership and people skills. These are core competencies that finance professionals must hone if they want to remain relevant and employable in a rapidly changing world.”

Key traits of digital finance leaders

The report identifies three common traits of tech-savvy finance teams:  

  • Modern Business Processes: Tech-savvy finance teams use advanced technologies and establish ‘operational excellence’. For example, 86 percent of Digital Finance Leaders have a digital-first and cloud-first mindset, which gives them greater access to intelligent process automation and technologies such as AI and Blockchain, which are commonly delivered via the cloud. Additionally, 73 percent centralise finance subject matter expertise in a global ‘Center of Excellence’.
  • Data Insights: Leading finance teams connect data that was previously in disparate applications to uncover new insights. They rely more and more on AI to uncover hidden patterns, make recommendations, and learn continually from the non-stop flow of business data. 
  • Business Influence: Leading finance teams move beyond reporting and are using data-driven insights to influence the direction of the business. With reduced time spent on manual reporting processes and armed with accurate and timely data, finance leaders are empowered to partner with the business, recommend new courses of action and influence business strategy.    

Build the skills to go beyond

To help finance professionals grasp the core digital skills needed to bridge learning gaps, CIMA has released the Digital Mindset Pack, available at the CGMAStore, and is free* for paid up CIMA members. This professional development package features more than six hours of learning, including new updates to the CGMA Competency Framework, a two-hour course on blockchain, an eLearning course on understanding RPA and much more. Use the promo code below to claim your discount:


*Included as part of your 2019 subscription. If you haven't already paid, you can do so by logging into MyCIMA now.