Coupa Survey: How AI is Driving Procurement Growth

Despite feeling hesitant towards AI, a Coupa survey has revealed that CFOs are planning to or are already using it to improve their procurement operation.

As Coupa’s annual survey of Chief Financial Officers (CFO) revealed a general impression of how people are feeling, it seems most believe that AI can be, or has already, been helping as part of its procurement process. 

The survey was conducted among 500 CFOs and finance leaders in the US, UK, Ireland, France, and Germany, showing a growing tension of driving growth opportunities amidst AI's potential and disaggregated data issues.

Despite this, both in where they are already using AI, 29%, and where they plan to invest over the next six to 12 months, 31%, procurement is an area in which people believe AI can and is helping - in the top three of both categories.

This is despite a real doubt among figures across the globe, as 90% are concerned about hitting their growth and revenue targets in the next six to 12 months. As they look to expand the use of AI, many remain hesitant over trust and breaching strict privacy law.

45% of CFOs said they plan to invest in AI to drive growth this year, nearly double (89%) have doubts about their company's ability to successfully implement a strategy.

CFOs are AI Hungry, but Hesitant

That's not to say the technology has been shunned, with many CFO having to undertake the difficult decision to lay off staff, amidst economic uncertainty. Now working within smaller teams, they hope to use AI to tackle more tactical tasks and free up teams for higher-value business operations.

Financial leaders are keen to implement technology across their business, but are grappling with a contradicting reality, as they also do not trust it, and do not want to break the law.

Despite this, CFOs see AI’s potential to transform their operations and cut costs, increase productivity and grow efficiency.

They're also planning on investing in generative AI (GenAI) solutions to improve: fraud detection (37%), workflow process optimization (36%), supplier evaluation (35%), and contract development (32%).

Coupa undertook its annual survey of Chief Financial Officers which revealed a growing tension of driving growth opportunities amidst AI's potential

Financial leaders are keen to implement technology across their business, but are grappling with a contradicting reality, as they also do not trust it, and do not want to break the law.

CFOs see AI’s potential to transform their operations and cut costs, increase productivity and grow efficiency.

Successful AI adoption requires cross-functional collaboration, responsible deployment, and access to the best data. CFOs play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of accountability, transparency, and ethical decision-making to navigate AI's complexities, while unlocking its full potential for competitive advantage.

Kevin Burns, Coupa CFO, said: "To keep up with the dynamic regulatory landscape, CFOs must be proactive in mitigating fraud risks and managing compliance challenges.

“It's crucial that CFOs prioritise AI-driven solutions to gain the agility and precision needed to stay compliant and steer around risk while managing capital for durable growth. Embracing these technologies isn't just about driving efficiency; it's about safeguarding your organisation's reputation and long-term viability.”

Compounding Complexities Escalate Risk Management

A significant lack of confidence exists about the ability to maintain compliance standards, across several regulatory aspects. More than a third of CFOs said data protection (36%), financial regulations (35%), and cybersecurity compliance (34%) cause them the most concern.

These doubts are compounded by the constantly evolving regulatory landscape, with new compliance requirements such as the SEC climate disclosure rule, UK SOX compliance, and e-invoicing mandates across Europe. Failing to comply leaves a company vulnerable to risks and data breaches and can destroy business reputations.

CFOs see AI as a potential solution to compliance risks and challenges and nearly one in three (28%) are specifically planning to invest in AI for regulatory compliance.

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