Skip to content

The CFO and Relationships During the Rise of AI

As a seasoned professional CFO, I have always held steady that building relationships are critical to the success of any CFO. I find myself now questioning how that has changed and how will it continue to change as AI becomes more prominent. How can AI take the place of a CFO, when so much of the relationship building is conversational. How does AI “read the room” so to speak?

Building relationships with key stakeholders requires active listening skills and showing interest in their concerns and priorities. It’s best to be in person so the CFO can read the non-verbal ques through body language, tone, and facial expressions. How will AI be able to read those non-verbal ques in the future? Empathy is also a key component of relationship building. It must be genuine. Can AI be genuine and show true empathy? Reliability and showing up and following through on promises are also a key to success. How will a machine be able to do this and really do it well?

So of course, by now, you have probably guessed what I decided to do…. I asked ChatGPT to tell me if AI could replace the CFO as the relationship builder. In very quick order and after 3-4 iterations of updating the tone and style to reflect that of myself, here is what I got back:

“In my years, I’ve seen the business landscape evolve, and AI is one of those game-changers. It isn’t about machines replacing the human touch, but rather giving us an edge. AI helps us ‘listen’ by analyzing the tone of our emails and communications. It’s like having an assistant that picks up on patterns – who prefers a call over an email or who consistently engages with certain topics.

It keeps the lines of communication open, reminding us of check-ins and even tailoring our messages to resonate more with each stakeholder. AI is also brilliant at gathering feedback, sifting through responses, and highlighting what truly matters.

In essence, while my experience and intuition drive my decisions and relationships, AI acts like a reliable aide, making sure I’m always a step ahead. It’s not about being tech-savvy; it’s about being smart with the tools at our disposal.”

Sounds pretty good, right? Makes sense. I couldn’t stop there. I really wanted to know if it could tell me the answer as ChatGPT:

“In the vast world of AI, I’m designed to help streamline and enhance tasks. While I don’t “feel” relationships in a human sense, I can certainly provide tools and insights to bolster them. I analyze patterns, offer reminders, help decipher tones in communications, and make sense of vast amounts of feedback. While I don’t replace the seasoned intuition and experience you bring, think of me as a digital aide, here to ensure you’ve got all the information and tools to nurture your relationships effectively.”

I was with some friends from the Entrepreneurs Organization last night and told them about this blog. It spurred an interesting conversation around change and the newest generation. I wasn’t called a dinosaur; however, I was reminded that my generation feels one on one contact and conversation is critical but is that true of the younger generation (those under 15?). This is the generation of the future. The CFOs of the future. They are learning so much faster and using tools that are so much more advanced than anything we had to learn on. Will they care about relationship building?

Here’s what ChatGPT had to say about this:

“Relationship-building remains crucial due to the inherent value of direct interactions, which foster teamwork and business opportunities. However, the rise of remote work and online communication preferences among younger generations suggest evolving methods of connection. While technology might change the way we interact, the importance of genuine professional relationships is likely to persist.”

For now, I continue to stand by my beliefs that success is still driven by strong relationships with all key stakeholders. AI can help with adding more value through data gathering, and research, but it does look like it will continue to change and add more and more value to our ability to strengthen those relationships even for generations to come.

Navigating Tough Decisions:  When Letting Go may be the Only Option

As the founder of CEFO Advisors and over 25 years of experience in financial management, my career has spanned roles from controller to CFO and then to CEO, giving me
Read More

Mastering the Fluid Landscape of Financial Hiring: Insights from CEFO Advisors

In the ever-shifting world of finance, staying ahead of the curve isn’t just a goal – it’s a necessity. At CEFO Advisors, we’ve turned this challenge into our forte. Every
Read More

We speak ‘Entrepreneur.’

Are you ready to speak with us?

Please call (518) 693-7446 to schedule your free consultation. Or share your challenge, ideas and questions here and we’ll reach out to you.

By filling in the from, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie use.