Deloitte is seeing momentum for accelerated adoption for generative artificial intelligence within finance and accounting this year.

According to a Deloitte Center for Controllership poll, even though few executives (6.6%) say their organizations have already implemented generative AI solutions to support finance and accounting processes, the firm said considerably more indicate they are actively discussing use cases (15.4%) or have future plans to adopt the technology (27.8%).

Looking at the next 12 months, responding executives told Deloitte that cash flow forecasting (23.7%) presents the biggest opportunity for generative AI within their organization’s finance and accounting function, followed closely by scenario planning (21.1%), expense reporting (18.1%) and financial controls management (14.1%).

Court Watson is part of Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory within Deloitte & Touche and specializes in AI use within controllership functions.

“Just as in any industry, there are areas within accounting and finance that could be ripe for Generative AI experimentation,” Watson said in a news release.

“Processes that depend on estimations for which organizations have robust, algorithm-ready data sets — such as cash flow forecasting and scenario planning — might be ideal areas for finance and accounting teams to begin testing generative AI use,” Watson continued.

Deloitte noted that data, which is the main input for generative AI models, is the single greatest pain point according to respondents.

Nearly one-quarter (24.4%) of polled executives said that enhancements to data quality would improve their trust levels in Generative AI tools.

“Across the board, we continue to hear from organizations that the lack of clean, model-ready data is a significant challenge to incorporating generative AI into finance and accounting workstreams,” Watson said.

“Implementing a robust data strategy and process to prepare finance and accounting data for use within Generative AI models — as well as with automation and other technologies — is a crucial first step to help organizations truly reach actionable insights and outcomes,” Watson continued.

As interest in generative AI solutions within finance and accounting grows, so are considerations concerning the technology’s implications on governance strategies, according to Deloitte.

More than one-third of polled leaders (38.7%) said that their organization already has or will have a generative AI strategy — protocols to guide its adoption and use — in place for finance and accounting within the next 12 months.

Yet, a similar number (39%) reported no future plans to develop a strategy, based on the Deloitte poll.

The firm generated the findings after more than 1,430 executives were polled during a Deloitte Center for Controllership webcast, titled “A new frontier: Exploring artificial intelligence in finance,” on Oct. 26.

Dave Stahler is a Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory partner and controllership digital finance leader within Deloitte & Touche.

“Generative AI is expected to transform finance and accounting processes, inclusive of actual financials, making governance a significant piece of the puzzle,” Stahler said. “Treating AI governance like any other finance transformation effort will be key to bringing the technology safely into an organization’s finance operations.

“For many, that will mean taking an enterprise-wide approach that includes a well-governed data strategy, accuracy and reliability safeguards, alignment with financial regulations and standards, close strategic collaboration across business functions and — critically — management support,” Stahler went on to say.