An Overdependence on Technology Hampers SMBs’ Strategic Vision

Share Article

Technology and AI without a human touch can be more damaging to a business than helpful, and MLA Companies’ fractional CFO solutions encourage human strategic financial advice.

News Image
No software program will give you answers to questions you don’t know how to ask.

As small- and medium-sized business (SMB) owners work diligently to scale their companies, they often turn to technology and embrace automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and software to save time, money, and resources. However, MLA Companies, an innovative consulting firm whose customized, value-driven approach offers processes and services that align with a client’s needs and future growth, warns against SMBs relying too heavily on making financial decisions solely based on technology. As a solution, MLA Companies offers its proprietary ‘Business Redeemed’ process to bring new opportunities for growth with expert strategic advice from part-time fractional CFOs.

A fractional CFO is a dedicated financial expert with decades of insight and real-world experience and provides businesses with targeted monetary strategies on a contractual basis. For many companies, a fractional CFO brings significant benefits and value. By working on a per-project or per-hour basis, SMBs can receive tactical financial planning advice without the high overhead cost of adding a full-time CFO.

Seth Morgan, President and CEO of MLA Companies, says, “If you have basic problems in how your business is structured going in, no tool is going to help it. It almost always makes it worse. We’ve served clients who have done that and are stuck partway through a big implementation of some software package, and they’re worse off than when they started. They call us to not only fix that but get them back on track to where they need to be.”

Technology does provide significant benefits for small- and medium-sized businesses. Automation allows SMBs to increase business agility, save time, reduce headcount, streamline operations, save money, and create a better customer experience. Ninety-three percent of business owners use at least one technology platform to help run their businesses, and most use three. (1)

These tools can help time-constrained SMBs get their businesses up and running, manage their day-to-day operations, and reduce the need for hiring additional team members. The Great Resignation, a phenomenon of 47 million workers leaving their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulted in intense worker shortages and talent gaps. Businesses are turning to technology and artificial intelligence to make up for the difference. (2)

However, an overreliance on technology can cause business owners to ignore their gut intuition and judgment. Leaning too heavily on technology can also lead to vendor lock-in when a business is handcuffed to a product or service solution because switching is too complicated or expensive. This ultimately hurts a business’s bottom line by forcing it to utilize a technology that no longer works for them. Also, AI has severe limitations. It lacks emotional intelligence, soft skills, and the ability to use any data other than what it is given, making it a complement to humans — but not a replacement. (3)

Morgan says, “While most business owners believe technology helped them grow in challenging conditions, it’s not a one-to-one replacement. Technology and AI should be balanced by human involvement to mitigate this overreliance.” Morgan continues, “No software program will give you answers to questions you don’t know how to ask. The strategic component is about knowing how to ask the right questions. Then you can find the answers. Refine the process by hand, then find something to automate it faster and over and over again. Solutions are marketed, and they’ve designed solutions for a few large categories, but if you don’t fit perfectly into one of those lanes, it becomes a frustrating experience.”

Technological innovation is meant to handle day-to-day, repetitive tasks like bookkeeping but was never intended to replace human creativity and strategy. SMBs need to avoid falling into the trap of outsourcing strategic advice to a machine and, instead, allow financial experts with the experience and insight necessary provide tailor-made solutions — for a fraction of the cost. For today’s businesses, MLA Companies is championing a more modern-day CFO, a unique and powerful change agent, and leader, pulling all the pieces together and working as a strategic leadership executive.

Morgan explains, “Business owners in need of fractional CFO services must be able to rely on a wide spectrum of talent-centric, customized approaches offering processes and services that align with their needs and future growth. MLA Companies follows a team expertise-centric philosophy that brings together decades of combined knowledge for clients versus the individual service provider model common in our industry. Whether it’s accounting support or strategic financial advice, MLA Companies creates a customized plan for each individual business.”

MLA’s proprietary ‘Business Redeemed’ process utilizes seven categories of questions that empower the MLA team to create a holistic plan. By digging into a 360˚approach focusing on the ideal business vision around reality, perspective, runway, dream, roadmap, courage, and reward, MLA Companies offers both the perspective and practical expert advice to move businesses forward. Using the team’s collective expertise, MLA’s process protects what clients have, guides them at the moment, and empowers them to move forward into the future.

Morgan concludes, “Technology has never been enough for businesses; without the human touch of an expert fractional CFO that utilizes a team-based approach, business owners run the risk of being too heavily dependent on insufficient tools and platforms. As consultants who also execute, we are always working to protect, guide, and empower.”

About MLA Companies

MLA Companies is not a CPA firm that also does consulting. It is comprised of consultants whose customized, value-driven approach offers processes and services that align to clients’ needs and future growth. Founded in 2006 by CEO Seth Morgan, these financial experts are positioned to understand clients and their businesses — to protect, guide, and empower. Clients who invest in building relationships with MLA Companies know that their purpose will not change, but their service offerings can grow as the business grows. At MLA Companies, the discussion with a client is centered around purpose and growth first — then finance and services second. Visit


1. Staff, U.S. Chamber. “New Study Shows Technology Platforms Critical to Small Business Growth.” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2 Aug. 2022,
2. Oluwaniyi, Raji. “6 Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence Can't Replace Humans at Work.” MUO, 21 Sept. 2022,
3. Hkmp. “How Technology Is Changing the Role of the CFO.” HKMP, LLP, 13 Apr. 2021,

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Karla Jo Helms
Follow >
Visit website