With a renewed need for increased resilience and agility in the Office of the CFO, artificial intelligence is poised to have a significant impact on FP&A in 2021. But even as adoption of AI technologies continues to grow, the question of “Where do I start in my organization?” remains for many.

Mark Velthuis, President of Jedox Asia Pacific and Japan, recently joined Allan Tan for an episode of FutureCFO’s podcast to discuss how AI will impact FP&A professionals in 2021, and important next steps to consider to advance their Digital Transformation. Check out the highlights with a link to the full episode below:

Q: How do you see AI transforming the role of the CFO and the function of finance?

A: I think the role is moving from the CFO, in a department that spends up to 80% of their time gathering data, maintaining spreadsheets, and building reports to what I like to call the CVO. The Chief Value Officer, where it is about delivering actionable insights and simplifying complexity. Specifically, the data that the company holds and being able to collaborate with other business units. This is where I see the role changing from, dare I say, having to be a “spreadsheet jockey” to actually driving more business value.

Q: Given that AI is still a young and evolving technology, how should the CFO approach the adoption of AI in the finance function and across the enterprise?

A: The way we approach it with our customers is to start small – Think big, think about everything that is possible – but you actually start small and of course, scale fast.

When we say start small, the digitization and transformation of the Office of Finance is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We would like to approach the FP&A department as a single unit first. We see that a lot of our customers still rely heavily on using spreadsheets, so we recommend that they start with automation of that department first.

Eliminate the spreadsheet chaos and the human error that sits within spreadsheet chaos. Build the best practice and become more efficient before starting to integrate planning and budgeting processes with other business units and before moving on to the final stage, which is what we call increased agility through real-time performance management. This is the stage of AI-enabled scenario modeling and augmented budgeting and planning.

Listen to the full FutureCFO podcast episode with Mark Velthuis here.