Connect with us

Business

The implications of a cashless society for business

Published

on

By Simon Quinton, Senior AVP and UKI Country Manager at Tableau, the analytics platform for Salesforce

Last year, approximately 23 million people in the UK used virtually no cash at all, and notes and coins are expected to account for just 6% of payments within the next 10 years (UK Finance).

These latest findings from UK Finance should come as no surprise, as more and more of us ditch cash altogether – instead relying on debit and credit cards to make payments, while also switching to digital services for our banking needs.

But what does this mean for business?

First of all, the shift towards a cashless society comes with an immense amount of consumer data. But how can businesses make the most of this valuable resource, which if utilised can help businesses understand their customers and their changing needs?

Afterall, we know that cashless customers come with a completely new set of expectations. This includes demands for more personalisation and for products which are easy to use, a seamless user experience.

UK-based retailer, Ocado, is just one example of how businesses can leverage their own data sets to meet changing customer expectations. The online supermarket connected supplier data to product performance and customer shopping behaviour to boost sales and to provide a more personalised shopping experience that’s in-line with customer needs and expectations.

This flexibility and agility apply to fintech’s too. The rising number of online banking apps and options for contactless payments not only deliver on these customer expectations, but they are also more efficient models of payment. Financial Services leaders must draw on key insights like this to deliver outstanding customer experiences that meet current needs and anticipate the future needs of their customers too.

The implications for data

A cashless society has an important impact on customer data too – as cashless becomes the norm, how can fintechs and financial institutions help protect customer data?

As cashless payments leave a trail of data, the risk of this data being exploited is real, and some customers can be left wondering how this data is being used, and what happens if there is a breach of data or fraudulent activity?

However, financial institutions can also use data and analytics to identify emerging threats, and provide insights to predict and alert customers to issues like fraud in a way which would have been impossible in a cash driven society. Leveraging the power of data in this evolving environment will help institutions predict consumer behaviour and be alert to potential risks like fraud.

How financial institutions can transition to a cashless society 

Financial institutions are rethinking their technical setup and investing in the latest analytics and data tools to thrive in a cashless world – helping them to understand their customer needs and accelerate their digital transformation. Data lies at the heart of this digital transformation, and it holds immense potential for the sector and companies working to reshape their business models.

Old, legacy, systems and a lack of relevant skills can create real obstacles for digital transformation. Some 44% of financial services companies have difficulty integrating new technology with legacy systems. 

But the good news is that there are plenty of tools to help financial institutions make this transition to digital, and to prepare for a cashless society. There are also plenty of examples of financial institutions who have already made this change and who are reaping the benefits.

One of those examples is Charles Schwab – one of the largest publicly traded FS companies in the US, with 345 retail branches. However, their customer experience was highly varied from branch to branch. With increased competition, the need for a more tailored customer experience was becoming a priority. Schwab aligned its branches and centres, monitoring both client activity and satisfaction to deliver client insights that allowed them to understand the customer’s needs. Bringing their data together with Tableau allowed leadership to get a better picture, not just by region but by customer. This enabled every retail branch to engage more fully with customers and respond to their needs.

Charles Schwab and Ocado Retail are just two examples of businesses driving digital transformation to flourish in a cashless society. By leaning into their data and analytics they’ve unlocked their own data – not just about customer activity but about the satisfaction they felt with the service provided. Ultimately these changes help to future proof businesses – and place the customer right at the heart of meaningful transformation.

Business

Accounting Automation in the Future

Published

on

Accounting automation is the process of streamlining repetitive tasks in financial processes. For example, some processes like invoicing are time-consuming and repetitive. Automation can reduce manual labor and save businesses both time and money. Also, it helps improve accuracy, reduces errors, and provides more accurate financial reporting.

Accounting automation in the future will be increasingly important for businesses to stay competitive. But every new change comes with both advantages and challenges. Let’s dive in to get ready for this future trend.

 

Potential Future Benefits of Accounting Automation

Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings

Accounting automation is a great way to increase efficiency and cost savings. For example, AI bookkeeping uses advanced algorithms to automate many accounting tasks. So, companies can track expenses, prepare financial reports, and more using AI.

It reduces the time needed for manual entry. So, businesses can spend fewer labor hours on tedious processes. They can increase efficiency by freeing up resources for more strategic work. It also helps reduce errors and inconsistencies associated with manual processes. So, the cost of compliance is lower because of greater accuracy.

 

Improved Accuracy and Reliability

Accounting automation can improve accuracy and reliability in accounting processes. For example, Automating bank reconciliation is less prone to errors from human mistakes or miscalculations. You can automate the process to identify discrepancies between the bank statement and accounting records. It helps to ensure that financial reports remain accurate and reliable. So businesses can take corrective action faster than processing data manually.

 

Streamlined Business Processes

Streamlined business processes involve eliminating unnecessary steps, reducing paperwork, and automating repetitive tasks. This allows businesses to focus on higher-value activities, such as developing new products, improving customer service, and developing strategic plans for the future.

 

Making a Better Decision

Accounting automation can enhance decision-making in 3 ways.

1. It enables businesses to access real-time information from multiple systems. So they can identify trends for better decision-making.
2. Automated accounting also helps with forecasting, budgeting, and auditing tasks. It enables businesses to be more proactive in their decision-making processes.
3. Also, automated accounting tools can integrate with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They can manage data across the enterprise and make concise decisions that are favorable to the company as a whole.

 

Increase Customer Satisfaction

Accounting automation can help businesses increase customer satisfaction by streamlining their processes and providing a more efficient customer experience. For example:
4. Automated accounting systems can automate tedious manual tasks such as invoicing, data entry, and payroll processing. This allows businesses to focus on other aspects of their operations that are more important for customer service.
5. Automated accounting systems can also provide customers with more accurate and timely financial information. The information can help them make better decisions about their finances.
6. Also, accounting automation enables businesses to respond quickly to customer inquiries. It helps reduce wait times and improve the overall customer experience. So, you can build better relationships with their customers.

 

Improved Accessibility

Accounting automation takes place online or comes with cloud-based solutions. So, you can access your information and do your job from anywhere instead of being confined to one spot.

 

Challenges to Implementing Accounting Automation in the Future

Cost of Technology Infrastructure Upgrades

Automating an accounting system often requires businesses to invest in new hardware and software, such as servers and other associated equipment. These upgrades come with a hefty price tag that may be difficult for small businesses to afford.

There are also extra costs, such as installation fees, setup charges, software licensing fees, cloud storage costs, and maintenance fees.

 

Training Requirements for Staff Members

Accounting automation involves using advanced technology to automate certain processes. So, it creates a need for trained staff members who can handle the new technology. Training requirements vary depending on the type of software used.

Some common training includes record-keeping procedures, software applications, and troubleshooting skills.

 

Regulatory Compliance Issues

Accounting automation can be a time-saver, but it also requires firms to be aware of the applicable rules and regulations. Companies must ensure that their automated systems are compliant with relevant laws and regulations such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), and other applicable accounting standards.

Besides, they must also comply with legal requirements related to taxes, financial statements, and other reporting obligations.

So, businesses must consider the complexities of regulatory compliance when automating accounting.

 

Security and Data Protection Concerns

As businesses move their accounting processes to the cloud, they are exposed to a wide range of potential security risks. Data breaches can cause significant damage to the business’s financial and reputational integrity. Besides, the complexity of automated accounting systems can make it difficult to identify and detect suspicious activities or errors in the system.

To ensure data is kept secure, businesses must have strong measures in place to protect against unauthorized access, encryption, and regular backups of data.

Furthermore, companies must train their staff on the proper use of the system. It helps staff to know how to protect confidential information from being accessed or misused by unauthorized personnel.

Businesses may also need an experienced IT team to monitor and maintain the system to keep up with any changes or updates for optimal performance.

 

Final thoughts

Accounting automation has come a long way in the past few decades. It is likely to continue to advance in the future. As technology continues to evolve, more businesses will likely begin taking advantage of automation in their accounting processes. So, businesses should be aware of the potential challenges and prepare to stay competitive.

Continue Reading

Banking

How banks can help customers during the cost of living crisis

Published

on

 Lavanya Kaul Head of BFSI, UK & Ireland, LTI Mindtree

 

Surging energy and food prices are significantly driving up household expenditure, which means living standards in the UK will fall to 2.2% this year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility. This is the biggest drop in any single financial year since the records began in 1956-57.

It’s a tough situation for many consumers who are still struggling with financial hardship following redundancies and pay freezes from the pandemic. According to TSB’s Money Confidence Barometer, 82% of people have experienced an increase in the day-to-day cost of living. This resulted in almost a quarter of them using their savings, while one in five changed their usual spending habits and behaviours.

As the financial situation worsens, consumers are increasingly relying on their banks for help and support. But, while banks can’t control inflation, energy or food prices, they can play a more supportive role by adapting their services to offer stronger customer service, better tools for financial management and be more flexible with loan repayments.

 

Strengthen customer service with intuitive AI solutions

Since the pandemic, consumers have changed the way they bank, using more mobile apps for primary banking rather than going into physical branches. This provided an opportunity for banks to accelerate their investment in digital services including automation and offer customers more support during the cost of living crisis.

Lavanya Kaul

Effective tools include AI-powered chatbots which respond intelligently to customer enquiries to quickly help troubleshoot problems and provide useful advice. But to be successful, you need to ensure you strike the right balance between an efficient and convenient process and creating a personalised experience. Customers need to feel like you understand and care about their problems and are here to help, rather than just fobbing them off with a monosyllabic bot. To avoid this, banks need to embrace intuitive AI solutions to ensure that empathy comes across in all automated interactions with customers. While doing that, messaging is key. In times of stress, we don’t function as well and financial struggles are a huge stressor. The clearer the message and the simpler the instructions, the better.

Financial education, when combined with technology solutions such as open banking, can offer more long-term solutions for people to navigate their finances. This can help put more information into the hands of the consumer to help them grasp their financial situation better. Some banks have cracked this with innovative solutions like HSBC’s Financial fitness score tool that can analyse your money habits and signpost you towards ways to improve your financial health. This may include joining one of the financial education webinars run by the bank or having a ‘financial health check’ with a member of staff.

 

Launch money management features & apps

Introducing money management features and apps to increase the visibility of a customer’s financial situation, empowers them with the information they need to make smarter choices.

TSB offers Spend & Save and Spend & Save Plus current accounts which include a savings pot that enables customers to put extra money aside when they can and an auto-balancer feature that automatically transfers money from the savings pot into their current account if their balance falls below a certain level. This allows them to start building up savings and protects them from unnecessary overdraft charges.

Personal financial management (PFM) apps also help customers get a better understanding of their finances. These connect with a customer’s bank account and enable them to keep a close eye on their spending habits and track upcoming bill payments. An example is Prism, a PFM app which allows customers to manage bill payments by sending them reminders about due dates. It also provides a summary of their income, account balance and monthly expenses at a glance, therefore consolidating all their financial information in one place and saving time on bill payments.

Lloyd’s Banking Group and HSBC launched a subscription management tool for all customers on mobile, allowing them to see and cancel recurring card payments for things like TV subscription services. HSBC says that during the first quarter of the year, it led to customers dumping around 200,000 subscriptions.

 

Introduce payment holidays

While improved customer service and financial management tools are important support tactics, they might not be enough for more vulnerable customers. For example, those who are about to default on mortgage payments or loans due to redundancy or periods of ill health need banks to do more, like offering payment holidays. Banks relaxed the rules for payment holidays during the pandemic, so they should consider doing it again to help more vulnerable customers through the crisis. Customers need to understand that they are not alone when experiencing financial difficulties and that help is available

 

Ride out the crisis together

As inflation reaches a 30-year high, customers are now more reliant than ever on banks for guidance and support. But to provide the right level of service, they need to move away from their traditional ways and behave more like technology companies by embracing automated solutions to create the right products and services for customers. Then layer on top of that the need for more personalised and empathetic customer interactions, as well as consider additional support for more vulnerable customers.

While we don’t know how long the cost of living crisis will last, what we do know is that the pressure on household finances is likely to get worse before it gets better. Therefore, banks need to step up, be the supportive partner and do whatever they can to help customers. After all, the only way we can ride out the crisis is by supporting each other and working together.

 

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business18 hours ago

Accounting Automation in the Future

Accounting automation is the process of streamlining repetitive tasks in financial processes. For example, some processes like invoicing are time-consuming...

Banking2 days ago

How banks can help customers during the cost of living crisis

 Lavanya Kaul Head of BFSI, UK & Ireland, LTI Mindtree   Surging energy and food prices are significantly driving up...

Finance2 days ago

Weathering the economic storm in 2023

Nikki Dawson, Head of EMEA Marketing at Highspot   New year, new business challenges. When it comes to creating and...

Business3 days ago

Three ways data can help financial organisations thrive in today’s economy

By Rinesh Patel, Global Head of Financial Services, Snowflake   Financial organisations are caught in the middle of an ever-evolving...

Finance3 days ago

What is the right strategy for the end of money?

By John Barber, VP & Head of Europe at Infosys Finacle More than five thousand years ago, humans replaced barter...

Business3 days ago

2023 – what will happen in the payment world?

Tommaso Jacopo Ulissi, Head of Group Strategy, Nexi Group 2022 was a year of transition for consumers, as BNPL (Buy...

Business3 days ago

2023 crypto trends that businesses need to know about

By Marcus de Maria, Founder and Chairman of Investment Mastery   As cryptocurrencies have started to enjoy wider global acceptance...

Business3 days ago

Defining Fraud in 2023

Scott Buchanan, Chief Marketing Officer at Forter Fraudsters are fluid — they constantly experiment with new tactics to find cracks in...

Business4 days ago

How accounting software may hold the key to keeping on top of credit control

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director of award-winning accounting software developer, iplicit.   One of the first rules everyone learns about...

Banking4 days ago

Coreless Banking: How banks can thrive in 2023

Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN   In recent years, banks have faced immense disruption and struggled to transform with...

Technology4 days ago

Will cyberattacks be uninsurable in 2023? Three steps that financial organisations can follow now

By James Blake, Field CISO of EMEA, Cohesity   The growing number of cyber attacks and subsequent damage has led...

Business1 week ago

Why Financial Services Institutions must de-risk the customer journey in 2023

By Perry Gale, VP EMEA at Cyara   From rising interest rates, to the cost-of-living crisis and the ongoing recession,...

Business1 week ago

Why finance needs a technological leap in fraud prevention

Brett Beranek, VP & General Manager, Security and Biometrics at Nuance Communications   Banking fraud is always a punishing experience for...

Banking1 week ago

How Banks Should be Future-Proofing Themselves  

By John da Gama-Rose, Head of BFS, Global Growth Markets, Cognizant  Businesses across the world are facing a combination of...

Business1 week ago

The Promise of AI in Financial Services in 2023

By Kevin Levitt, Global Industry Business Development, Financial Services, NVIDIA   As we enter the new year, many are left...

Banking1 week ago

What to expect from banking and payments in 2023

Michael Mueller, CEO, Form3   The banking industry went through a number of significant challenges in 2022. The steep increase...

Business1 week ago

The big cash squeeze: will fortune favour the bold?

With a new political landscape, rising inflation, a cost-of-living crisis and increasing pressure from HMRC for payments, many businesses are...

Business1 week ago

How scaling agility can help mortgage lenders thrive in a tough economy

By Angus Panton, Director of Banking and Financial Services at Expleo   During periods of economic uncertainty, speed and agility...

Financial Services Is Stepping Into A New Era Financial Services Is Stepping Into A New Era
Business1 week ago

Embracing eCommerce: what retailers will face in 2023 

by T.R Newcomb, VP, Strategy and Corporate Development, Riskified     2022 has been a tumultuous year, with rising interest rates,...

Business1 week ago

Five steps for getting compliance right

 Troy Fine, Director, Risk and Compliance, Drata   With the accelerating pace of regulatory change and operational resilience policies, organisations...

Trending