CFOs Reveal Smart Thinking in the Latest CFO AI Survey

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the power to transform many aspects of our business lives. It is already in wide use in marketing applications — to score leads, for example, and in customer service applications in the form of chatbots. The technology, however, hasn’t been as widely adopted (yet!) in finance and accounting applications. Sage Intacct recently conducted an Artificial Intelligence in Accounting and ERP survey to reveal CFOs’ thoughts on AI and how, if, where, and when they plan to use it. Curious to know what the survey revealed? We’ve got highlights, and you can access the full results here

21% are already using AI in finance

A growing number of CFOs say they have already incorporated AI in their organization’s finance departments. Twenty-one percent say they’re using AI to speed data entry tasks and improve accuracy, to perform predictive analytics, for exemption management, reconciliation, and risk management. 

Half are considering adopting AI in the coming year 

The survey found that slightly more than half of CFOs are very (12%) or somewhat (46%) likely to implement AI in finance during the coming year. In contrast, a surprising 37% of CFOs say they are unlikely to incorporate AI this year — and an outlying 2% say “I will never.” 

CFOs predict 20-40% productivity gains

Finance professionals are bullish on the technology, with 71% expecting 21-40% gains in productivity. An additional 5% predict those gains to surpass 60%. Where are the gains coming from? Primarily from the time and cost savings that result from automating transactional and record-keeping processes. Check out the survey for the full list of tasks CFOs see as having the most potential for benefit. 

Where the smarts are coming from 

A majority (51%) of CFOs expect to adopt AI capabilities that come embedded into their financial management software — capabilities that do not require special AI skills to use. Twenty-nine percent plan to use an AI toolset, such as Salesforce Einstein, and 20% are looking toward a fully custom solution built by either internal or contract programmers. 

CFOs want their suppliers to use AI

Leaving little room for dissent, 95% of CFOs surveyed say that a vendor’s existing AI capabilities are at least somewhat important in their finance software purchase decisions. Fifty-seven percent ranked a vendor’s AI adoption as very important or important. We find this metric interesting, as it indicates that even CFOs that may not be ready to implement AI in their own departments want to see it in the accounting solutions they buy. 


Sage Intacct is embracing AI in new and innovative ways. One key way is through outlier detection. Outlier detection learns your organization’s transaction patterns and flags new transactions that don’t fit those past patterns for review. Another is through a machine-learning-powered time-entry assistant that speeds billing by combing through calendar, email, and other files to reconstruct professions’ work week. 

Learn more about AI’s benefits to finance teams in the survey, including the difference between “rules-based automation” and “artificial intelligence” plus a handy AI in Finance Vendor Considerations Checklist. If you have questions about AI in the finance department, we’re here to help.