Follow the Leaders
With every prompt you put into ChatGPT or another of the large-language artificial intelligence models producing so much buzz lately, you’re powering forward the next incredible shift in modern business operations.
These shifts began with the personal computer, which boosted output and made business fundamentals easier to accomplish. Then the Internet connected and accelerated everything. And now, AI, as it intersects with process automation, promises to deliver unprecedented new efficiencies across core functions.
The benefits will be immense, enabling organizations to achieve higher levels of productivity, accuracy, and strategic decision-making.
To better understand what’s coming down the pike, I asked colleagues at Fahrenheit (and also ChatGPT!) about what CEOs can expect as AI and automation integrate with finance, HR, and sales departments.
Automation tools can revolutionize finance functions by reducing manual tasks, minimizing errors, and improving overall efficiency. Tasks such as data entry, invoice processing, and reconciliations can be automated, freeing up valuable time for finance professionals to focus on strategic activities.
Automation in finance also enhances accuracy and compliance. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and detect anomalies, reducing the risk of fraudulent activities. With real-time insights provided by automation, financial decision-makers can make informed choices, improve forecasting accuracy, and identify cost-saving opportunities.
“Automation, AI, and algorithms may sound daunting to mid-market or small business CEOs, but they shouldn’t,” said Mark Vita, Business Advisory and Finance & Accounting practice leader for Fahrenheit Advisors. “Often the software and technology you already use can be configured to automate processes, analyze data, and deliver strategic insights for faster work and better decision making, and it’s just going to get better.”
Human resources departments manage an organization’s most valuable asset: its people. Automation in HR streamlines administrative tasks, allowing HR professionals to focus on strategic initiatives like talent acquisition, talent development, and employee engagement. Automating tasks such as employee onboarding, leave management, and performance evaluations enhances the employee experience and frees up time for HR teams to engage with employees on a more personal level.
AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can respond instantly to employee queries, delivering personalized assistance and reducing the need for human intervention. Additionally, automation can improve recruitment processes by analyzing resumes, screening candidates, and identifying the best matches, leading to more efficient and effective talent acquisition.
“CEOs should not overlook the value of automation to the HR team,” said Laura Bowser, Human Capital practice leader for Fahrenheit Advisors. “The pandemic-driven changes in the workforce and workplace will continue to drive new trends, regulations, and policies that will need the HR team’s full attention. AI and automation will help them give it.”
Automation significantly enhances a sales team’s productivity and contributes to delivering exceptional customer experiences. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems powered by AI can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and purchase patterns, enabling sales teams to tailor their strategies and offerings accordingly.
Automated lead scoring and nurturing systems also can analyze customer interactions and engagement data to identify high-potential leads and guide sales representatives on the best approach to engage with them. Automation also can streamline the sales process by automating repetitive tasks, such as proposal generation, contract management, and order processing, enabling salespeople to focus on building relationships and closing deals.
“Taking a business to the next level requires accelerating and increasing sales,” said John Atkinson, Sales Advisory practice leader for Fahrenheit Advisors. “Small investments in automation tools can deliver major returns as sales teams benefit from sharper strategies and more efficient processes.”
AI is not a replacement for human intelligence but a powerful tool that complements and augments human capabilities. This article is proof. Feeding the right prompts into ChatGPT automatically generated a framework and usable copy in seconds, allowing me to focus on editing, fact-checking, and fine-tuning the key message I want to share.
And that message is this: for finance, HR, and sales departments, automation frees human potential from mundane and repetitive tasks, empowering professionals to leverage their skills, expertise, and creativity to drive innovation and strategic decision-making.
Implementing AI and automation must be accompanied by robust data governance and ethical frameworks to ensure transparency, privacy, and security. And businesses need to prioritize reskilling and upskilling their workforce to adapt to the changing landscape, fostering a culture that embraces technology as an enabler rather than a threat.
Those that do embrace AI and automation will enjoy operational efficiencies that drive growth and protect against setbacks. Those that don’t will find themselves running faster and faster to chase competitors.
Rich Reinecke is co-founder of Fahrenheit Advisors, a Richmond-based business advisory firm.