A recent report by The Economist has found that, for the first time, the primary driver for change in the retail banking industry is not consumer behavior, but new technologies. These new technologies that are impacting finance in such a big way include artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT). The study also showed that this influence of technology is only projected to increase in the next five years.
As the current environment of technological developments is often referred to as the 4th industrial revolution, the changes that have impacted the world of finance have been given the term Finance 4.0. The key to these new technologies is automation.
The new technologies undoubtedly present numerous opportunities for financial companies. This can be through automating manual tasks, removing human errors, streamlining processes, and improving auditing, among other improvements to business processes.
Increased use of technology will also lead to a reduction in costs. This can be achieved without causing unemployment or employing fewer professionals, as automation can create openings that require functions of human intelligence at a higher level. Future finance professionals will be skilled in programming languages for working with algorithms, or in optimizing finance automation.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the first stage in automation and finance teams can be quickly and easily trained in this area. RPA can allow for the completion of such tasks as checking emails for invoices, scanning and adding relevant information to a company accounting system, or tracking and following up on payments. It can also highlight any items that are contrary to standard procedures so they can be checked by staff.
RPA is easy to implement and be understood by team members quickly. This means it is likely they will have a stronger understanding of the way technology is used in the digital transformation of finance. It also means they should be able to see the direction the finance world is taking into the future.
When enterprises get started with RPA, it is important that they audit their processes. This will allow them to notice their inefficiencies and flawed processes so that they can redesign and optimize for the future.
It is also necessary to integrate RPA into business processes holistically. A recent study of Global 2000 companies found that only 13% of RPA processes were scaled up and industrialized, while most were for disjointed individual projects. To make the most of RPA, an enterprise-wide approach needs to be taken.
RPA, among other technologies, is the future of the finance industry and this has been recently recognized by professional organizations as ACCA, AICPA, and CIMA. RPA is the first step in digital transformation that will lead to a brighter future.