Nov 15, 2023 · San Francisco, US

New Report from Pigment Shows 89% of Finance Leaders Make Decisions Based on Inaccurate, Incomplete Data

New Report from Pigment Shows 89% of Finance Leaders Make Decisions Based on Inaccurate, Incomplete Data

Survey reveals what CFOs and finance leaders really think about AI, the painful trade-offs they’re making today and the largest opportunities ahead.

  • Over half (57%) of finance leaders are concerned that AI will eliminate their jobs, or could become more trusted than professionals
  • 68% of finance leaders would consider input from AI in making a business decision or recommendation
  • More than half (54%) say they spend most of their time doing work that doesn’t add strategic value to the organization
  • Close to half (43%) of finance leaders say they are not able to invest in team culture and worker happiness due to preoccupation with low-value tasks

Pigment, the business planning platform, today released “Office of the CFO: Expectations vs. Reality for the Modern Finance Professional,” new research that reveals insights and challenges from finance leaders. Most concerning, while finance leaders operate in an environment where access to accurate information can make or break a company, the vast majority (89%) say they are making monthly decisions that they know are based on inaccurate or incomplete data. In fact, one in four say they are being forced to rely on gut instinct alone.

"CFOs and finance leaders serve as the strategic backbone of organizations, orchestrating lasting business success while making reliable predictions in a world where the only certainty is flux. The reality, however, is that finance leaders are over-extended as they try to meet the expectations placed on them. They often don’t have access to the right data or technology, they’re spending far too much time on low-value tasks, and they aren’t able to upskill or evolve their roles. Without changes, they’re being placed in an impossible-to-win scenario.”

Eléonore Crespo, co-CEO and co-founder, Pigment

Finance leaders face a crisis of confidence

Finance leaders across industries lack confidence in their ability to make strategic decisions for the business, plan ahead accurately, mitigate risks, or steer their business through unpredictable events. In fact, most finance leaders only feel confident making decisions for the next quarter (60%), and only one in four (28%) are confident making plans a year or more in advance. 

This comes down to a couple of main factors: persistent external pressures such as the current, uncertain economic environment and staying ahead of competitors, as well as strong internal challenges. More than half (56%) of finance leaders have been asked to make decisions and forecasts for departments over which they lack visibility and nearly the same number (53%) who still don’t have the right tools needed to conduct needed long-term growth planning.

Mounting expectations meet mundane tasks, holding leaders back

Despite the evolution of the finance function to a more strategic role, too many finance leaders are still unable to focus on high-value business initiatives. More than half (54%) say they spend most of their time doing work that doesn’t add strategic value to the organization, 43% said they are not able to invest in their team culture and worker happiness due to preoccupation with low-value tasks, and 42% deprioritize developing new capabilities and skills, which directly impacts their ability to attract and retain talent. Along with these issues, finance leaders have seen increased responsibility for decision-making across several facets of the business, including the expectation to provide business-wide strategic guidance and overseeing new areas like Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG), something that 68% of finance leaders acknowledge has emerged as a focal point for their teams. 

AI-enabled technology tools will propel finance into the future 

Highlighting the growing trust in AI, particularly large language models, the report found that 92% of finance leaders are already seeing value from AI within their business and two-thirds (68%) of finance leaders would consider input from AI in making a business decision or recommendation. 

In addition, a main value-add highlighted by finance leaders is the ability to bring in outside non-finance stakeholders, moving the conversation to a level they can contribute toward. This is because generative AI-powered platforms make it far easier to access and analyze data in natural language even if someone is not an analyst or an expert in financial planning tools.

"Despite the challenges, we know that finance leaders believe in their function and are ready and willing to do the work that has the greatest impact on the business. With the right people in their teams, who have access to clean and accurate data, finance leaders can not only meet but redefine the evolving expectations and solidify their position as vital architects of an organization’s future.”

Vanessa Brangwyn, Global Head of Customers, Pigment

To read the full report, click here.

Research Methodology

Pigment conducted this research using an online survey prepared by Method Research and distributed by RepData among n=503 adults (age 18+) in the United States who are employed as in-house finance professionals with a manager title or above. All respondents were required to work at a firm with 500 employees or more. Data was collected from August 29 to September 11, 2023. 

About Pigment

Pigment is a business planning platform. By bringing together people, data and processes into an intuitive, adaptable, integrated platform, teams can quickly build trusted strategic and operational business plans to drive growth, react to change and future-proof their business. Industry-leading companies like Klarna, Figma, Airtable, PVH and Webhelp trust Pigment every day, allowing them to make confident and accurate decisions. Learn more at


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