Anish Kapoor, CEO and Co-founder of AccessPay discusses with EPI editor Douglas Blakey the challenges and opportunities faced by finance teams in enacting digital transformation and how digitisation is considered key to achieving operational resilience and managing cash visibility is a key concern for international businesses
A new report from AccessPay entitled The Drive to Digital: Finance Transformation Trends for 2023 provides an insight into corporate sentiment on the subject of finance transformation as we go into 2023.
The report follows AccessPay’s series of Drive to Digital events that took place in late 2022 and explores the theme of financial transformation and the possibilities offered by embedded corporate banking.
Kapoor tells EPI: “With this report we wanted to highlight the key challenges facing finance teams and how digital transformation can help them. Over the course of our Drive to Digital events we took the opportunity to electronically poll delegates on a range of topics such as regulatory pain points and the challenges of multi-geography, multi-bank relationships. This report shares those results and provides an insight into corporate sentiment on the subject of finance transformation as we go into 2023.”
EPI: What are the key takeaways from the report?
Anish Kapoor, AccessPay CEO:
The report focusses on the key challenges and objectives of modern finance functions as we move into 2023. The clear front runner was technology adoption which was cited by 58% of respondents. There is widespread recognition of the benefits that digital transformation can bring in terms of efficiency for finance teams, but knowing exactly what technology to adopt to achieve this aim is noted as a key challenge.
Regulatory compliance and risk mitigation is also a concern, with 45% of respondents citing it as a key challenge or objective. The regulatory burden varies by sector, but in regulated industries such as financial services, there has been an increase in regulatory activity following a hiatus during the pandemic. Here too digital transformation can play a role, with companies in need of systems and processes that help them demonstrate regulatory controls and be audit-ready.
The drive for efficiency
The predominant driver for digital transformation is the desire for improved efficiency, with 88% of respondents citing it as a key factor behind plans for digitisation. Operational efficiencies are welcome at the best of times, but with business costs increasing and a tough outlook for business growth, the need to find efficiencies has become critical. Indeed, 59% of respondents consider digital transformation as a key aspect of supporting business growth, while 44% also believe it has the potential to reduce costs.
EPI: Why is digitisation key to operational resilience?
Digitisation is key to operational resilience because it allows for the automation and streamlining of financial processes, improving communication and collaboration as well as better data management and analysis, as well as the ability to easily adapt to changing circumstances.
Digital systems can also be more easily monitored and maintained, reducing the likelihood of disruptions. Additionally, digitisation enables organisations to quickly shift to remote work and other flexible arrangements in the event of a disruption, such as a natural disaster or a pandemic.
When it comes to the finance function, businesses need to account for a range of outcomes that can occur from ‘people risk’ such as an influx in demand for finance team resource, staff unavailability, security breaches or banking portal downtime.
By automating these processes, the number of risk considerations that can directly impact business continuity is greatly reduced. This also streamlines your payment controls. Digitising these processes can guarantee a controlled structure for the validation and authorisation of payments.
EPI: Why is managing cash visibility a key concern?
Cash visibility is increasingly becoming a key concern for businesses in 2023 due to the current economic climate and the uncertainty this can bring for many companies.
Businesses are looking for ways to better manage their cash, so having accurate visibility to their cash position can help them make more informed, strategic decisions with their money.
Having good cash visibility can help companies address any potential cash flow issues before they become a problem, helping them maintain financial stability and optimise their cash resources.
EPI: Does 2023 hold grounds for optimism, what is your take on the sector this year, what can we expect?
In the current climate, businesses are facing uncertain times and now more than ever businesses need to make their money work harder. Businesses need to be thinking about how by embracing technology they can better navigate through difficult times. How can they alleviate pressure on their people and how can they leverage insights in automation across their processes?
Examples we are seeing include businesses looking for ways to remove manual tasks within the finance function. Removing the need for unnecessary spreadsheets and repetitive tasks will free the team up focus on more value-added tasks, with more time to think strategically about the future.
We are finding businesses are seeing technological change as the key driver to having a handle on their finances, gaining full cash visibility in a volatile market, and the need to eliminate unnecessary risk.
The full report can be downloaded here.