AI in Finance

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CFOs' Toolkit for Adopting AI | Featuring Anna Tiomina

Anna Tiomina
CFO, & Strategic Advisor

Moderated by:
Emily
Digital Transformation Consultant at Hyperbots

Don’t want to watch a video? Read the interview transcript below.

Emily: Hello, everyone. This is Emily, a digital transformation consultant at Hyperbot Systems, and on the call, I’m really glad to have Anna with me. Anna is the CFO at SOTIC. In today’s discussion, we’ll be talking about a CFO’s preparatory toolkit for the adoption of AI. But before we dive in, Anna, would you share a brief overview of your background and perhaps set the stage for our discussion?

Anna: Sure. I’ve dedicated my entire career to finance, and I’ve been a CFO for more than 10 years. I’ve worked in various companies and industries. I started in steel manufacturing, spent around five years in pharmaceuticals, and joined an IT services company about four years ago. So I have a very versatile background in terms of industries. I also provide strategic consulting for early-stage startups. Since 2022, there’s been a huge emphasis on AI in all areas, including finance. Many organizations struggle to find the right approach to this transformative technology. It’s a pleasure to be here and shed some light on this crucial topic.

Emily: That’s really amazing. Great to have you as well, Anna. Let’s start with the first question. What would you recommend as the initial action for CFOs venturing into AI adoption?

Anna: I don’t recommend jumping into AI implementation initially. It’s worth running an audit in three main areas: data infrastructure, team skills, and the status of existing processes. For data infrastructure, it’s important to evaluate sources, ensure a single source of truth, address discrepancies, and prepare the data before implementing AI tools. Team readiness is paramount. Some teams are flexible with new technology, while others need more preparation to understand how it works. Lastly, the state of existing processes is vital. Are they unified and documented? Automating chaos leads to automated chaos, which is not what we want.

Emily: Completely agree. Those are really insightful points, Anna. Moving forward, what key objectives would you recommend CFOs include in their AI strategic roadmap for the finance department?

Anna: When preparing the strategic roadmap for AI implementation, CFOs should focus on quantifiable objectives such as improving accuracy in financial forecasting, reducing processing times, and enhancing compliance and fraud detection. Setting a goal to automate 30% of manual data entry tasks within a year could significantly boost efficiency and accuracy. As a CFO, I’m always looking at the return on investment. AI implementation in finance operations should also consider potential savings and scalability if the organization plans to grow. Additionally, the cost of mistakes in finance operations is significant. AI can minimize errors, prevent fraud, and save the organization money in the long run.

Emily: True and valuable insights indeed. Considering your experience, what challenges should CFOs anticipate when aligning AI initiatives with their overall business strategy?

Anna: From what I’ve seen, security is a top concern among CFOs. Not understanding the technology can make it scary to let it make crucial decisions. Addressing security is crucial to reducing friction and gaining agreement from the rest of the team. I also recommend not rushing implementation. Let stakeholders adjust, understand the technology, and recognize its benefits to avoid big mistakes. In the long run, AI is a great technology. However, there’s pressure from leadership to implement it quickly to stay competitive. Finding the right balance between preparation and implementation and getting a leadership agreement is key.

Emily: Got it. Completely agree. Thank you so much, Anna, for sharing your insights and expertise on these critical aspects of adopting AI in finance. Any final thoughts or key takeaways you’d like to leave with our audience?

Anna: For CFOs feeling a bit lost in this process, I encourage them to do some reading or attend webinars. There’s a lot of information available, and it doesn’t take long to understand how the technology works and its benefits. Don’t be scared. It’s exciting to see changes in this market since finance automation tools haven’t seen a revolution since the 1970s.

Emily: That’s some great advice. Thank you so much, Anna, for being here and speaking on a topic that’s buzzing everywhere. It was truly amazing having you here today.

Anna: My pleasure.



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