Conference Updates

National Harbor, MD, June 7, 2022

Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference Day 2 Highlights

We are bringing you news and highlights from the Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference 2022. Below is a collection of key announcements and insights coming out of the conference. You can read highlights from Day 1 here.

On Day 2 of the conference we are highlighting sessions on the Gartner Hype Cycle for Financial Analytics, the AI Generation, how to remove effort from the accounting close, and learning finance digital competencies on the job. Be sure to check this page throughout the day for updates.

Key Announcements

Gartner Hype Cycle for Financial Analytics

Presented by Grant Nelson, Sr. Director Analyst, Gartner

The inaugural Hype Cycle for Financial Analytics enables finance leaders to distinguish which innovations may present a real opportunity from those that might be over-promising or hyping up their potential benefit. In this session, Grant Nelson, Sr. Director Analyst at Gartner, provided  a view of how financial analytics innovations are evolving, and the opportunities to be assessed prior to investment or deployment.

Key Takeaways

  • Gartner experts studied over 100 analytics innovations and put the 20 with the most relevance to the finance function on the Hype Cycle for Financial Analytics.
  • Organizations are democratizing advanced analytics capabilities with increased speed as technological evolution enables non-expert analytics consumers to leverage once futuristic advanced capabilities. 
  • A combination of a democratized advanced analytics consumers, and ever-evolving AI & ML capabilities, is shifting the technology from enabling manual analysis to actively steering analysts to the most relevant insights.
  • Technological evolution has minimized the burden of upskilling employees.
  • Four innovations from the Hype Cycle for Financial Analytics that have strong potential to impact the finance organization within the next five years are: Decision Intelligence; Graph Analytics; Citizen Data Science; and Data and Analytics Stewardship.

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The AI Generation: How to Start a Team of Experts to Build the Future of Finance

Presented by Clement Christensen, Director Analyst, Gartner

Eighty percent of CFOs plan to spend more on AI in the next two years, but Gartner data suggests that the talent pool to capitalize on these investments is scarce. n this session, Clement Christensen, Director Analyst at Gartner, outlined how finance can do more to identify and attract AI-native talent by understanding the prerequisites that attract the “AI Generation” to employers.

Key Takeaways

  • “The AI Generation is a critical new talent market that CFOs are struggling to recruit into finance.” 
  • “The AI generation are those employees, regardless of age, that look to digital- and AI-based solutions first to solve business challenges, view coding as a core life skill, and prioritize data science opportunities in employment decisions. They will create the AI tools and models that will power finance’s autonomous future.”
  • “Finance leaders must do a better job of marketing data science opportunities in finance to the AI Generation, or the finance function will be marginalized in the enterprise.”
  • “Data science careers and roles are foreign to many Finance leaders.”
  • “A simple dynamic of offering technical skill development opportunities can lure and retain employees who will build the business knowledge to make them effective contributors.”
  • Understanding the three key EVP priorities of the AI Generation is the first step in making finance departments more attractive work destinations, including providing: 1) Modern analytics tools 2) High-quality, easy to access data and 3) Meaningful, interesting challenges to solve. 

Remove Effort from the Accounting Close

Presented by Hilary Richards, Vice President Analyst, Gartner

Ninety-four percent of corporate controllers experience the characteristics of high effort during the accounting close process. In this session, Hilary Richards, VP Analyst at Gartner, discussed how controllers remove unnecessary work from the account close period.

Key Takeaways

  • “There is a tendency for employees to overestimate the importance of some tasks they perform as part of the accounting close.”
  • “Legacy processes and biases obscure opportunities to change and improve the accounting close process.”
  • “Leading drivers of effort are controllable, such as the complexity of process design, technology fragmentation, the willingness of staff and leadership to innovate, and the quantity of manual work.”
  • “Controllers should identify a few key drivers of effort in the accounting close that are most significant to focus improvement efforts on.”
  • “Accounting teams can save effort by improving the use of materiality thresholds to eliminate unnecessary work.”
  • “Not all accounts need to be reconciled every period. Risk-ranking accounts can help controllers reduce the workload while ensuring no significant increase in risk to the business.”

Develop Finance’s Digital Competencies Through On-The-Job Learning

Presented by Ashwani Gupta, Director Analyst, Gartner

Just one-third of CFOs and finance leaders are confident in their ability to develop digital skills among their finance staff. In this session, Ashwani Gupta, Director Analyst at Gartner, examined how on-the-job learning is the most effective intervention to develop the digital skillset.

Key Takeaways

  • "Technology skills make up only 25% of the digital skillset and are predominantly around understanding and applying digital solutions.Relative to traditional learning interventions such as classroom based training or self-study modules, on-the-job learning can have almost 10 times the impact on achieving talent outcomes, 3 times the impact on staff performance, and more than 2 times the impact on their engagement levels."
  • "Finance leaders usually look for on-the-job learning opportunities in large scale and organization-wide digital projects such as AI/ML, RPA, NLP where finance staff need preexisting digital proficiency and face challenges in achieving scale and scope." 
  • "CFOs and finance leaders should widen the scope of on-the-job learning projects to include staff’s own workflows to counter these challenges while achieving the scale needed to develop the digital skillset."
  • "CFOs and finance leaders must provide managers with training and resources to support their teams before, during, and after on-the-job learning experiences."
  • "Managers don't need to be highly proficient digital experts to develop digital skills in the finance staff."

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