Early adopters of AI will reap the rewards

Early adopters of AI will reap the rewards

Australian businesses should at least be thinking about how to utilise advanced AI within their company or risk falling behind.

A recent survey carried out by BDO found that the prospect of a heavier reliance on generative AI is keeping Australian CFOs up at night, however BDO consulting partner Fahim Khondaker said there’s a lot to get excited about.

“The major misconception with AI now is largely around its current capabilities. It has been marketed as a magic wand of sorts, that can do anything you ask it to.

“That’s not quite where we’re at with it yet, but it’s advancing rapidly” Fahim said.

“We’re at a phase now where all companies should be planning ways to utilise it within their business.

“This can be as simple as training and upskilling your staff on how to use it – with the goal of empowering them to achieve productivity gains and quality improvements across the organisation.”

The recent revealing launched 2024 BDO CFO Outlook Survey found middle-market companies are moving quickly on generative AI, with almost half of organisations surveyed they have formalised or are in the process of formalising a policy around generative AI.

While 44 per cent of CFOs surveyed said they planned to increase their involvement in digital transformation strategies, 39 per cent said generative AI presented risks around data that were top of mind.

"Educating your workforce on this technology early is important to ensure that the risks are well managed,” Fahim said.

“Given the continuous advancement of generative AI, the need for clear plans and processes to keep up with the changes and adapt accordingly is becoming stronger.

“Organisations where team members are well versed on how they may be able to use AI to generate value for their businesses, in a safe and responsible manner, will be best placed no matter what the future holds.”

Fahim said that given we’re very much in the early stage of adopting AI, there is still a lot unknown and no clear consensus about what the greatest opportunities generative AI offers.

“We’re in a phase where many companies are testing it out, looking for small wins, without investing significant amounts of money in AI just yet,” he said.

“There are some popular examples where people are testing it out – one being to create new documents from previous documents or existing information, and the other being the use of AI to help staff navigate through a set of rules or guidelines (e.g. leave policies),” he said.

“While there’s some concerns around privacy and automation, what we’re finding is that companies are more worried that not embracing the new technology and not preparing for it could prove more costly to their long-term success."

“I think what we’ll see as the technology evolves, is those companies that take a thoughtful approach to generative AI, formalising their policies while cultivating the right culture and skillsets, will find it transformative for their business.”


For media enquiries:
Tate Papworth
Manager, Media
E: tate.papworth@bdo.com.au
Ph: 0433 411 189