By Jim Wong, CPA | November 15, 2017

With the many technological advancements taking place in today’s corporate world, there’s no question that business processes are continuing to change. Systems are getting automated, data is getting predictive and professionals’ roles are evolving – even the c-suite.

While the world may seem to be moving towards more and more artificial intelligence (AI), there is likely no level of automation that will replace the strategic skills of a CFO, CIO or CEO. Leadership qualities, problem-solving skills and overall work and life experiences are going to be needed for many years to come.

So, even though managers and leaders may be embracing and welcoming the advanced technologies coming our way, there should not be cause for concern over executive leadership getting completely replaced by “robots” or automated processes.

In fact, I came across an article on that talks about exactly why AI simply won’t be able to replace the leadership of an actual human. I thought the topic was very timely and relevant. I decided to share some insight from the article as well as a few thoughts of my own in 3 Reasons Automation Won’t Replace the CFO or CIO below.

1. It’s hard to automate human skills.
While there has been some research on AI-driven systems conducting large projects independently when there are a clear sets of steps, there have not been successful examples of projects performed where judgment calls are needed or if a project veers off course – both aspects that are very likely to happen at one point or another in a real-life situation. Even the highest-level of technologies don’t have the capability to make human-based decisions. Imagine if your CFO pushed a button to analyze a business’ entire accounting system, without a conversation with the Controller or Auditor or even the staff accountant the CFO would miss many soft issues not considered for in the analysis.

2. There needs to be a human factor.
Since many CFOs, CIOs and other c-level leadership make decisions that impact not only the teams they manage and their families, but often times many other individuals outside of that, AIs or robots cannot be trusted to make significant decisions that could have such major repercussions. There exists the level of morale, ethics and basic human compassion that goes along with high-level finance, business and operations determinations that cannot possibly be delegated or solely automated.

3. Automation can only adapt to a certain point.
There is proof that technologies are intuitive enough to adapt with various scenarios, however, there are common sense factors that would get lost in translation if systems and processes were fully automated. Human interaction is necessary in order to regulate programs, operations and team members’ involvement. CFOs and CIOs must know what’s occurring within their accounting, finance and information technology divisions in order to make sound decisions – and communicating in person is often times a crucial component.

Can you think of other reasons why automation would not be able to replace the CFO or CIO or any other c-level position? Comment below and let us know!

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