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Maximising AI Opportunities and Ensuring Responsible Use in Business

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to play a significant role in business operations, it becomes imperative for chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) to prioritise trust-building measures to manage associated risks effectively. Here are some key insights and steps for finance professionals to navigate the evolving landscape of AI implementation and governance:

Building Trust in AI

AI’s expanding role in accounting and financial reporting demands robust governance and risk management practices. CFOs and financial controllers must ensure the adequacy of oversight and controls over AI systems to maintain trust in financial processes.

Key Steps for Finance Professionals

Investing in AI Literacy and Skills Development: Finance professionals need to invest in education and training to evaluate AI outputs critically, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and make informed decisions.

Collaborating via Cross-Functional Teams: Active engagement with IT, data science, legal, and risk management teams is essential. Cross-functional collaboration enables comprehensive oversight and ensures alignment with organisational objectives.

Developing an AI Governance Framework: Starting with critical use cases, finance professionals should establish clear policies, oversight mechanisms, and governance practices to manage AI-related risks effectively.

AI presents numerous opportunities for businesses, including enhanced insights, operational efficiency, and improved customer experiences. However, it also introduces challenges to trust in accounting and finance reporting, necessitating a balance between innovation and risk management.

Navigating the AI Landscape

Alistair Brisbourne, Head of Technology Research at ACCA, emphasised, “CEOs and CFOs need to focus on making the changes needed to harness the many potential opportunities while retaining trust. This includes upskilling to deal with technology, introducing new knowledge into organisations, and fostering a culture of governance and collaboration.”

The AI monitor: trust highlights various risks associated with AI in accounting systems, including decision-making impacts, over-dependence on AI procedures in auditing, concerns over bias or error, and reliance on AI-powered virtual assistants. Finance professionals must focus on understanding the outcomes driven by technology and ensure alignment with business objectives.

In subsequent releases of the AI monitor in 2024, ACCA will explore talent development, risk management, effective data strategy, and sustainability applications in the context of AI.

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