SAVE THE DATE - APPLICATIONS AND PARTNRESHIP OPPORTUNITIES OPENING SOON!

A Tech CFO on Three Disruptive Technologies Transforming Finance

Share

CFO Innovation | by Eric Cheung, Unit4 Asia Pacific | March 15, 2018

The world as we know it is changing. Rapid technological advancements are altering industries and creating new market opportunities. As the business world accelerates towards what arguably is looking like an everything-as-a-service (XaaS) economy, the next few years will be pivotal for finance departments in making the transformations necessary to update their service offerings and deliver service excellence.

Several trends are converging over the next few years that could set the stage for a service-economy shift that will keep CFOs more than ever in the driving seat. This year, 2018, may turn out to be an important turning point for the finance function as three disruptive technologies begin to be widely adopted – as the finance function of Unit4 Asia Pacific, which I lead as CFO, is finding out.

In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018

Blockchain and Self-Driving Finance

As the foundation of cryptocurrencies, blockchain has already played a vital role in next-generation finance tools. It is also gaining traction in a wide range of industries across Asia Pacific. In markets as diverse as Australia, Thailand, and Singapore, there is a strong acceptance of the technology not just in financial services, but across the entire supply chain, from food provenance to logistics.

See:  Technology is the ‘most profound force bearing down’ on big banks, ex-Barclays boss says

Technology industry research organization IDC estimates that spending in Asia on developing blockchain applications – customizing the technology for business solutions such as payments, trade finance, regulatory compliance, and supply chain management – will almost double to US$281.69 million in 2018, from US$148.76 million in 2017.

There is another aspect of blockchain that could prove to be even more influential. As a technology that optimizes efficiency and accuracy of any transaction, blockchain applications can underpin the growth of self-driving finance – if these could be connected to the organization’s internal ledger.

The need for standardization, trust, and compliance are issues that have plagued auditing and financial record-keeping. The simple act of having to manually manage a database enables the entire universe of accounting errors, malfeasance and compliance headaches. Those problems are amplified when the ledger is shared among multiple partners.

By collecting data in distributed ledgers, and feeding that into a corporate single ledger finance system in real-time, reconciliation suddenly becomes a constant, innate operational function that requires no additional effort. This is what we hope to do in Unit4. In the finance function, we are developing blockchain-enabled distributed ledgers that we plan to link to our Unit4 Financials single-ledger system in 2018.

Unified Ledger Integration

A corollary to the adoption of blockchain is the integration of unified ledgers with the performance management system. What this means is the realization of the "single version of the truth" that the C-suite has long sought in data consolidation initiatives. This would quite literally deliver 24/7 real-time intelligence to the boardroom.

See:  FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP.16-Nov 2): Envisioning the Future of Open Banking for Consumers and Businesses with Cato Pastoll, Co-founder and CEO, Lending Loop

Management consultancy Accenture estimates that, by replacing fragmented financial databases based on transaction processing with a unified ledger system, companies can reduce 50 percent of costs in business operational compliance and up to 70 percent of costs associated with financial reporting.

In turn, streamlined processes with lower error rates and the vast amount of data available will enhance the accuracy of forecasting and decision-making assisted by Artificial Intelligence (AI). And CFOs will be able to access both period reporting data and real-time reporting with no need for the traditional monthly close.

Unit4 recently released a new version of its single, unified ledger financial management solution in the US, and is looking to roll it out in the Asia-Pacific region over the next few years. This version will give companies the ability to store real-time, unlimited, and separately analyzable data against any transaction generated by any business application.

The result will be a real-time intelligence for driving future performance across the whole organization, as well as ensuring compliance within statutory and management reports. This also means that I, as CFO, can perform better data analysis and calculate more complex KPIs than previously, and do so directly from the finance dashboard.

I believe that deeper insights, faster turnarounds and the release of more operating capital for investment are just the beginning of this new paradigm.

Enterprise chatbots and digital assistants can be seamlessly integrated with services like Office365 to support natural language queries and cognitive services – and even capture data like travel expenses and billable times as they occur

Artificial Intelligence in Expense Management

AI and the closely related technology of machine learning have evolved to the point where they are becoming indispensable additions to the finance toolkit. Automated processes are much easier to update than are human brains in response to variable financial rules and changing governmental regulations. This has proven especially true for enterprises with independent or contract mobile workers who must adhere to local laws and financial-reporting guidelines.

See:  Startup CEOs on how to keep the artificial intelligence ball rolling in Canada

Artificial intelligence programs can now instantly handle the company's accounting consolidation, arbitrage and legal compliance needs. Invoices can be generated more rapidly and accurately as remote workers enter their data directly into the time management system.

Enterprise chatbots and digital assistants, such as Unit4 Wanda, can be seamlessly integrated with services like Office365, and Microsoft Azure’s LUIS (Language Understanding Intelligent Service) to support natural language queries and cognitive services – and even capture data like travel expenses and billable times as they occur.

The emergence of Wanda has transformed and assisted with many of the core functions within Unit4’s finance office. We find that Wanda comes into its own in relation to programmable processes like accounting and backward-looking disclosure.

The technology can autonomously replace human cognitive functions by analyzing massive amounts of relevant data very quickly in a way that we as humans can’t. This is very useful in cases where Unit4’s end goal is well-defined and outcomes can be predicted.

The Future of the CFO Function

I believe that these three technologies – blockchain, unified ledger integration and AI – indicate that a dramatic restructuring of the financial landscape lies in the year ahead. They are coalescing to simplify predictive technologies and apply them to integrated business planning, from strategy to business to budgets – and open up an entirely new opportunity for the finance professionals to get involved in the strategic decision support.

Continue to the full article --> here


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org


CNBC | Hugh Son | Feb 14, 2019 The first cryptocurrency created by a major U.S. bank is here — and it's from J.P. Morgan Chase. Engineers at the lender have created the "JPM Coin," a digital token that will be used to instantly settle transactions between clients of its wholesale payments business. Only a tiny fraction of payments will initially be transmitted using the cryptocurrency, but the trial represents the first real-world use of a digital coin by a major U.S. bank. While J.P. Morgan's Jamie Dimon has bashed bitcoin as a "fraud," the bank chief and his managers have consistently said blockchain and regulated digital currencies held promise. The lender moves more than $6 trillion around the world every day for corporations in its massive wholesale payments business. In trials set to start in a few months, a tiny fraction of that will happen over something called "JPM Coin," the digital token created by engineers at the New York-based bank to instantly settle payments between clients. See:  Do Banks Even Want to Go Blockchain? J.P. Morgan is preparing for a future in which parts of the essential underpinning of global capitalism, from cross-border payments to corporate debt issuance, ...
Read More
JP Morgan is rolling out the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency to transform payments business
Forbes | Alejandro Cremades | Aug 2018 Is debt or equity fundraising smarter for startups? There is more than one way to fund a new business venture and fuel its growth. For almost all, it is going to require bringing in outside money at some point. Even if that is only to multiply what is working or to create a source of emergency capital. The two primary options are to either leverage business debt financing or fundraise for equity investors. Each method can carry its own pros and cons. It is vital for entrepreneurs not to blindly follow the herd just “because everyone else is doing it.” Discover which is best for you, at your stage in business, and stack the most advantages in your corner. Once you have decided the course of action and have a lead investor covering at least 20% of your financing round you would typically also include in the pitch deck the form of financing in which you are raising the capital. I recently covered the pitch deck template that was created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Debt Financing We’re all familiar with debt. At ...
Read More
Debt vs. Equity Financing: Pros And Cons For Entrepreneurs
Financial Post | James McLeod | Feb 9, 2019 The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister gives the Financial Post an early look at Ottawa’s report card on innovation that will be released next week Navdeep Bains wants Canadians to know that things are happening. Lots of things. The Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister has a big job on his hands, hauling Canada’s economy into the 21st century by embracing artificial intelligence and a panoply of digital technologies to boost productivity and keep us globally competitive. But the federal government’s innovation agenda is still very much a work in progress. One of its pillars, the five marquee superclusters spaced evenly across the country, is mostly just an idea at this point, although $950 million in funding is beginning to flow. Does Canada feel more innovative than it did four years ago? Are we future-proofing our economy and seizing the jobs of tomorrow? Bains certainly thinks so and that belief will probably be part of the Liberal’s pitch to voters when the country goes to the polls later this year. Next week, he will release a 100-page government report called Building a Nation of Innovators that mostly serves as a ...
Read More
The race to future-proof the economy: Navdeep Bains on the state of innovation in Canada
Modern Consensus | Leo Jakobson, February 4, 2019 Move is latest series of steps by regulator to bring clarity and less confrontational approach to regulations enforcement The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission wants to know if the technology to help it monitor major cryptocurrency blockchains for risk and regulatory compliance issues exists. The SEC is not looking to buy big data analytics tools at this time, but characterizes its interest as “conducting market research to determine the availability and technical capability,” of the tools presently available on the market, it announced in a notice on Jan. 31 What the SEC wants to know about is the “ability to provide the requested data but also an overview of the processes used to extract the data, convert the data into a reviewable format, and the verification steps to ensure there is no loss in data completeness and accuracy due to the data transformation tools and processes applied.” The software it wants would also make the data easy for SEC staff to read and understand on an ongoing basis, and would provide insights about that data—notably identifying who the data belongs to—as well as a way of ensuring the data is accurate and ...
Read More
SEC wants big data tools for monitoring and enforcing cryptocurrency market compliance
NCFA Canada | Feb 8, 2019 Ep24-Feb 8:  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton About this episode:  On this Episode of the Fintech Friday's Podcast, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with Daryl Hatton the CEO of Connection Point. They chatted about microprojects, saving little girls and puppies and how to get hooked on Philanthropy. Enjoy! Focus on value and avoid the complicated terminology when growing new innovative markets Branding customer segment-focused funding products, white labeling collaborative uses cases Crowdfunding for good at the intersection of technology, people and impact Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: DARYL HATTON, Founder and CEO, ConnectionPoint / FundRazr (linkedin) BIO:  Daryl Hatton, CEO of award winning international crowdfunding company FundRazr and of the innovative sponsored crowdfunding company Sponsifi has founded multiple start-ups and helped bring one to a successful NASDAQ IPO in 1999. He actively serves as board member or advisor to handfuls of other hot companies in Canada. In addition, he is a Director and Crowdfunding Ambassador for the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. As a social media guy and frequent public speaker, his Twitter tagline includes words like “#KingOfGastown, entrepreneur, cardiac survivor, foodie, whisky nut, philosopher, mentor, father and friend.” * Senior Business and Technology ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (EP24-Feb 8):  Re-imagining Philanthropy with Daryl Hatton, Founder and CEO of ConnectionPoint/FundRazr
Forbes | Michael del Castillo | Feb 4, 2019 It’s a balmy 80 degrees on a mid-December day in Singapore, and something is puzzling Allen Day, a 41-year-old data scientist. Using the tools he has developed at Google, he can see a mysterious concerted usage of artificial intelligence on the blockchain for Ethereum. Ether is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency (after bitcoin and XRP), and it still sports a market cap of some $11 billion despite losing 83% of its value in 2018. Peering into its blockchain—the distributed database of transactions underpinning the cryptocurrency—Day detects a “whole bunch” of “autonomous agents” moving funds around “in an automated fashion.” While he doesn’t yet know who has created the AI, he suspects they could be the agents of cryptocurrency exchanges trading among themselves in order to artificially inflate ether’s price. “It’s not really just single agents doing things on their own,” Day says from Google’s Asia-Pacific headquarters. “They’re forming with other agents to have some larger group effect.” Day’s official title is senior developer advocate for Google Cloud, but he describes his role as “customer zero” for the company’s cloud computing efforts. As such it’s his job to anticipate demand before a product ...
Read More
Navigating Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP: How Google Is Quietly Making Blockchains Searchable
Bloomberg | Doug Alexander | Feb 4, 2019 Without digital keys, clients lose access to coins, funds Board said last week that it was seeking creditor protection Digital-asset exchange Quadriga CX has a $200 million problem with no obvious solution -- just the latest cautionary tale in the unregulated world of cryptocurrencies. The online startup can’t retrieve about C$190 million ($145 million) in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether and other digital tokens held for its customers, according to court documents filed Jan. 31 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nor can Vancouver-based Quadriga CX pay the C$70 million in cash they’re owed. Access to Quadriga CX’s digital “wallets” -- an application that stores the keys to send and receive cryptocurrencies -- appears to have been lost with the passing of Quadriga CX Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cotten, who died Dec. 9 in India from complications of Crohn’s disease. He was 30. Cotten was always conscious about security -- the laptop, email addresses and messaging system he used to run the 5-year-old business were encrypted, according to an affidavit from his widow, Jennifer Robertson. He took sole responsibility for the handling of funds and coins and the banking and accounting side of the business and, ...
Read More
Crypto CEO Dies Holding Only Passwords That Can Unlock Millions in Customer Coins
Forbes | Jeff Kauflin | Feb 4, 2019 This article was updated on 2/4/19 to include Ripple, the fourth-most valuable private fintech company in the U.S.  Financial technology startups continue to attract a growing amount of attention and capital. In 2018, valuations of the biggest private companies bulged, and at least six new fintech unicorns were minted in the U.S. U.S. fintechs raised $12.4 billion in funding, or 43% more than 2017, reports CB Insights. That growth outpaced the 30% increase in venture investments across the entire U.S. market. And fintechs will need those dollars—they tend to burn about two to three times as much cash compared with other startups, according to an analysis by Brex, likely due to factors like regulatory hurdles. Here are the 10 most valuable private, venture-backed fintechs in the U.S.: 1. Stripe, $22.5 billion Originally a service to help small online sellers process payments, today Stripe serves tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, too. In 2018 the company announced three new high-profile products, including credit card issuing technology, point-of-sale software and a billing platform for subscription businesses. Cofounders: CEO Patrick Collison, 30, and president John Collison, 28. Irish-born brothers, dropouts from MIT (Patrick) and Harvard (John) ...
Read More
The 11 Biggest Fintech Companies In America 2019
CNBC | Elizabeth Schulze | Jan 31, 2019 Navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector. Fintech firms are proactively applying for licenses in EU countries ahead of the Brexit deadline. So far Brexit uncertainty hasn't dented investment into London's thriving fintech market. Europe's fintech companies are getting serious about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. As uncertainty looms over the U.K.'s split from the EU, the industry gathered this week at the Paris Fintech Forum. Payments providers, cryptocurrency exchanges and digital banks all said they were taking steps to prepare for the worst-case scenario. But navigating the uncertainties of Brexit is proving to be a tough task for newcomers in the financial services sector who are luring in users with borderless, frictionless payment and banking solutions. "It is obvious the bigger the market is, the better it is for fintechs, the faster it is they can start, the more opportunities they have," Wim Mijs, CEO of the European Banking Federation, told CNBC on Wednesday. "If you cut off that market, you're hurting yourself, which is Brexit in one word." See:  Who’s afraid of Brexit? Here’s why Canadian fintechs ...
Read More
Europe's fintech companies are preparing for a no-deal Brexit
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Feb 1, 2019 Regulation Crowdfunding (or Reg CF), created by Title III of the JOBS Act, has been available for several years now. While not without its shortcomings, Reg CF has been leveraged by hundreds of issuers, typically smaller firms, raising over $100 million since May 2016. This past week, Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) published a report on Reg CF entitled “2018 State of Regulation Crowdfunding,” providing a snap-shot of the securities exemption and its overall performance. Crowdfund Insider communicated with CCA principle Sherwood “Woodie” Neiss regarding the report. Neiss told CI the promise of Reg CF as a jobs creator and economic engine is starting to prove true: “Back in 2012, the promise of Regulation Crowdfunding was jobs, a local economic generator, and an industry revitalizer. With the close of the 3rd calendar year of Reg CF we can see that those promises are holding true. Reg CF is proving to be a jobs engine (creating on average 2.9 jobs per issuer), economic generator (pumping over $289 million of revenues into local economies) and industry supporter (enabling 82 unique industries in regions across the USA).” See:  Prominent Group of Fintech Leaders Send Letter to SEC Chair Jay Clayton Demanding an Increase in Regulation Crowdfunding ...
Read More
Report: State of Regulation Crowdfunding Says No Gold Rush But an Undeniable Job Creator

 

Share