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Strategic Planning with AI – can it replace your trusted adviser?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no match for the regulated advice of an experienced Financial Adviser despite the industry leaning into AI to work better and faster. Julia Leask from Leask Advisory Solutions recently attended a one-of-a-kind research event hosted by Coventry University called The Creative Dinner Exchange at Drapers’ Hall, Coventry, where ideas on key topics impacting the profession and the topic of AI were open for discussion. Dr Alessandro Merendino at Coventry University is the research lead behind this dining experience. The research is being organised and funded by Coventry University and AHRC. Coventry University’s Research Ethics Committee granted the study ethical approval.

Julia is a growth strategist & financial trouble-shooter with decades of strategic accounting experience helping innovative business owners grow and manage their businesses successfully. For example, Guillem Singla Buxarrais, the CEO of Neurofenix, said that Julia had developed and managed their UK, US and Group finance functions, helping them to secure a £5.5m investment. Julia led the group finance function, both in sourcing the right resources for specific tasks and ensuring that all group companies comply with local and national laws/ regulations.

Questions were raised at The Creative Dinner Exchange, and provocations were posed to explore accounting and finance professionals’ mindsets on complexity and integrated decision-making. The advent of AI has enabled the rapid creation of bespoke complex financial models without the need for extensive financial or modelling expertise. The AI technology ensures real-time accuracy, adaptability, and flexibility in financial processing and modelling providing reliable data that can be used to make informed strategic decisions. However, those decision-makers still need to speak to a human for sound financial face to face advice at this time.

Julia’s advice, “When looking for an in-house or outsourced FD/CFO/trusted adviser, be clear about your financial goals and create a realistic plan with actions that they can be held accountable for. List your long-term and short-term business and personal financial goals before you search. That will give you the framework for finding someone whose expertise matches your objectives and is right for you. Check their qualifications and experience. There’s no shortage of Finance Directors or CFOs to choose from – but not every accountant has the right credentials, training, or expertise to meet your needs. Remember to double check with the appropriate certifying body that they have the required qualifications.”

Her advice is that when choosing a Finance Director or CFO, inquire about the following:

  • If you find budgeting and forecasting a struggle, a virtual or part-time CFO can wear this important hat for you
  • They’ll monitor the financial health of your business and provide a fresh perspective which will help you make better more timely, strategic decisions and improve your results
  • See how they’ve helped clients in similar sectors and size to your business
  • Find out their payment structure, some may be willing to take some equity in your business in part payment for their services.

No matter your financial goals, consulting with a strategic financial professional can help just about everybody. They will help you refine your goals and guide you in creating strategies for you, your current and future business and keep you accountable to your plan. Finance experts can also help you navigate different mazes of accountancy and financial strategies so you know your money is working for you. AI is yet to become sophisticated enough to make sound financial decisions, which means that FD/CFOs like Julia are still in high demand.

Julia is an International Portfolio FD/CFO, Award Winner, Coach, Speaker, and Author who helps businesses with strategic planning. With decades of experience in strategic accountancy and planning, Leask Advisory Solutions can help innovative business owners like you run things more effectively. It’s all about knowing what you should do rather than what you could do, but always staying in control.

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JULIA LEASK (right) - Leask Advisory Solutions

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