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AI set to change role of CFOs.

Waheed Abbas

Adham Gasser, Waleed Abu Eleiz, Metin Mitchell Founder and Managing Partner Metin Mitchell and Company and Bernd van Linder, during the CFO Strategies Forum Mena in Dubai on Thursday. - Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

The role and responsibilities of the chief financial officers will transform with the advancements in artificial intelligence and automation systems in the near future, industry executives said at a forum in Dubai on Thursday.

Bernd van Linder, CEO, Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), said artificial intelligence (AI) would take over any thing that can be automated, hence, the role of senior executives and the CFOs will be more of strategic advisory as most of the functions will be automated to the maximum extent. AI will assist to make decisions better so the role of the human will be to make judgments and decision-making.

He noted that three things are important for CFOs is to understand the drivers of business; play a role of chief strategic for organic growth of the company; and have full knowledge of complex data and how to crunch it.

"If you have a CFO who is only accountant, then he doesn't have a right to become CEO. If he is good at dealing with customers and has knowledge of how to drive strategies for business, he can be a CEO. Without previous operational experience, he should not be CEO," van Linder said during the panel discussion at the two-day CFO Strategies Forum Mena at JW Marriott Marquis hotel on Thursday.

Waleed Abu Eleiz, Group CFO, Alfa International Company, said CFOs need to get involved in the company's operations. "You need to understand the vision of shareholders; and have a deep understanding of the operations," Abu Eleiz advised the audience at the forum.

Adham Gasser, Regional CFO, P&G, said there is a lot happening around but the key will be catching up with the technology and the millennials. "When it comes to operations, every thing will be automated. AI will take over our work processes and will have so much data that they can make judgement. CFOs have to think strategies and the changing environment to maintain growth of their organisations. The crux will be how much value you add."

Earlier in the day, Yogesh Mehta, managing director, Petrochem Middle East, told the audience at the forum about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

"It's a personality thing. I never wanted to be an employee but an entrepreneur. I have huge will and a lot of guts. I am a hunter, the manner in which you make the deal is interesting and it becomes character thing. I have a passion to become an entrepreneur. To bring change to yourself, you have to be dissatisfied." He told audience that the biggest thing is that the world is becoming smaller and competition is a step ahead so people have to be faster than that to deliver and satisfy their customers.

Another panel discussion involving Nabeel Kazerooni, executive director for corporate finance, Arqaam Capital; Anand Venkataraman, head of corporate affairs and commercial at Kaya Skin Clinic Arabia; and Hasan Metla, CFO, Omnix International, addressed the challenges in mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances, integration and consolidation.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Nov 16, 2017
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