Almost 1 in 2 CFOs expect tech to replace their senior staff

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An astounding 44 percent of CFOs anticipate that tech will supplant their senior staff within the next two decades. This striking statistic is just one of several surprising findings from the CFO East Africa tech survey, which involved over 100 CFOs representing leading companies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

An astounding 44 percent of CFOs in East Africa anticipate that technology will supplant their senior staff within the next two decades. This striking statistic is just one of several surprising findings from the technology survey undertaken by CFO East Africa, which involved over 100 CFOs representing leading companies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

The CFOs expressed that while the role of senior finance staff is complex and multifaceted, technology advancements are indeed posing challenges and opportunities that could potentially lead to the replacement or transformation of traditional finance roles. 58 percent of CFOs believe AI will have a significant impact on financial processes in their organisations.

 

Despite the expectation that technology will have an impact on senior finance positions and processes, only 37 percent of organisations surveyed had implemented AI in financial processes or decision making.

Among reasons for the low uptake, CFOs cited significant upfront costs involved, lack of expertise in data science and AI, challenges with data quality and integration, regulatory and ethical concerns, uncertain ROI, resistance to organisational change, perceived job displacement, security risks, and concerns about vendor lock-in.


It is interesting that 58 percent of CFOs state that they constantly obsess over ways in which they could improve data and analytics for decision-making in their organisations. CFOs recognise that data and analytics could empower them to make better-informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently, drive strategic planning initiatives, ensure compliance with regulations, and enhance communication with stakeholders.

Despite CFOs taking an interest in the improvement of data and analytics, over 60 percent of CFOs stated that they rarely use ChatGPT or similar applications.

 

The slow adoption rate stems in part from worries surrounding the ethical ramifications and risks associated with AI technologies, with nearly 60 percent of CFOs expressing significant concerns about these potential drawbacks.

In assessing candidates for employment, 63 percent of CFOs stated that the technological aptitude of candidates is one of the top criteria when making appointments. Thirty-five percent of CFOs stated that this is a somewhat important consideration.


Just for fun, the CFOs were asked a bonus question that was unrelated to technology: their golf handicap. Close to 70 percent of the East African CFOs who responded stated that they rarely play golf.

“Maybe CEOs have the time for such leisurely moments; we are too busy keeping the lights on!” one CFO remarked.

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