SignUp Software CEO’s Insights on Overcoming CFO Challenges, Applying AI

In this episode of the Office of the CFO podcast, Kieron Allen is joined by Acceleration Economy analyst Manny Korakis and Olof Hedin, Group CEO, SignUp Software, to discuss challenges the office of the CFO is facing, leveraging current technology, and CFOs’ mindset entering the year’s second half.


Current Challenges (00:48)

Manny names capital allocation as a major challenge for the office of the CFO. They spend much time thinking about which technologies and industry solutions are best to invest in. They have to determine which investments take priority, such as investing in tech that benefits the company’s back office versus their customers. Value creation is also a key consideration. “Our analysis on where do we invest those dollars has gotten a lot more granular and a lot more scrutiny around those decisions,” he says.

“Many of the CFOs face the challenge of doing more with less when money has gotten a bit more expensive,” Hedin raises. Another challenge he notes is regulatory aspects. The three C’s — cost, control, and compliance — need to be as efficient as possible. Determining how to leverage AI can be a challenge on the technology side.

AI Impact (07:17)

When building out large language models (LLMs) and algorithms, you have to ensure you have the right governance and controls internally on the data to get the desired outcome. This is vital when starting out leveraging new technologies to drive business decisions and efficiencies. While this can be daunting, “there’s a lot of value to it,” Manny notes. Once it’s tested and secure internally, the next phase of an AI journey is to look at it from a customer-facing perspective.

Hedin shares customer examples of applying machine learning and AI. “In the financial process automation space, AI is definitely saving a lot of time already today for a lot of CFOs,” Hedin says.

CFO AI Concerns and Second Half Mindset (11:30)

Korakis says the biggest risk is that AI outputs don’t necessarily align with the question an employee is seeking to answer. If a person thinks they’re feeding the algorithm or LLM all the right data points but they’re actually not, that’s a big issue. His company is ensuring good data governance

Microsoft has made Copilot actionable for ISVs like Signup; since it’s embedded in Finance and Operations as well as Business Central, there are actions that weren’t available before, Hedin says. It’s one thing to get intelligent responses, but when you can also start doing things such as generating a PO if one’s missing, then you have an assistant that can do a lot more things for you. It’s really exciting in terms of customer problems that can be solved.

Korakis says in the first half of the year there’s been a lot of disruption in the macro environment that followed supply chain challenges: rising interest rates that created caution and the need to be very thoughtful in using investment dollars has slowed things down a bit. “I see that starting to phase off” and CFOs are more willing to spend as the second half approaches.

D365 Trends (15:09)

Hedin says AI is one big, obvious trend with Dynamics 365. The other is new regulatory demands. If you send an invoice to a customer in Italy you need to go through their tax authorities now so they can track it. A US customer asked to start invoicing in Germany and needed guidance. It varies by country. That’s a big challenge for international companies as well – how to handle that in an efficient way.

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