As businesses in every industry and sector evaluate ways they might be able to leverage emerging technology, there’s one area in particular that is attracting significant interest: artificial intelligence (AI). Even as questions arise about its uses and their potential impact, many companies have begun to explore the possibilities of harnessing the power of AI to improve performance and drive profitability.  

Much of AI’s appeal lies in its potential to create efficiency, which is one reason it may be particularly attractive to treasury teams and CFOs. Many finance departments have been tasked with managing complex workloads with limited resources, which leaves them looking for ways to streamline operations and reduce costs – and this is where AI may be able to help.

In October of 2023, PNC Treasury Management conducted a survey of a diverse group of finance executives to measure finance professionals’ familiarity with AI and understand AI adoption at their companies.  Results revealed that interest in AI was widespread among respondents, with 76% of surveyed companies indicating they either already had one or more AI initiatives in progress (32%) or were currently exploring AI opportunities (44%). Companies with revenues greater than $250 million were somewhat more likely to already have at least one AI program in place, while companies with revenues below this benchmark were exploring opportunities.

In terms of intended goals in implementing AI technology, realizing efficiency ranked highest on the list, with 46% of participants citing increasing efficiency as their most important objective. Improved decision support followed as the second most popular response, at 22%.

Respondents also indicated that they would be interested in leveraging AI’s capabilities in predictive analytics. Nearly half (45%) of the companies indicated interest in exploring predictive analytics with their banks. They also cited predicting future trends (34%) and identifying cost savings (30%) as areas where more in-depth analytics are desired.

However, even as the results reveal optimism surrounding the ways that AI may help achieve business objectives, respondents also acknowledged that there are challenges involved in leveraging the technology. One third of survey respondents acknowledged a knowledge and skills gap that creates difficulty in implementing AI. Companies with less than $250 million in revenues identified unclear return on investment (29%) and integration with existing systems (14%) as major barriers to implementation. Companies with more than $250 million in revenues were more focused on data privacy concerns (27%) and the cost of implementation (13%).

The overall takeaway from the survey is that there is diverse perspective on AI while finance leaders learn more about the technology and the applicability to treasury functions. “As with any emerging technology, businesses should not only work to understand how the technology can benefit their organization, but also evaluate potential challenges it may introduce,” said Tom Lang, head of Treasury Management Product and Operations at PNC. “We have a long track record of helping support our business clients as they drive innovation and digital transformation, and we are well-positioned to do the same with AI technology as new opportunities and applications come into focus.” 

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PNC’s team of industry specialists is available to unlock business potential, navigate new technology, and overcome the challenges that come along with digital transformation. No matter the company's industry or size, PNC Treasury Management platform solutions are flexible in scope and geared towards driving measurable results and improving key performance indicators. For more information, reach out to your PNC Relationship Manager, or contact us.

Taking the Pulse of Financial Professionals
Artificial Intelligence in Action