The realm of financial technology, often termed “fintech,” has been a driving force in revolutionizing the financial services sector. This transformation has elevated finance from its traditional back-office role to a pivotal position at the forefront of an organization’s strategic planning.
In an insightful webinar titled “The Future of Canadian Financial Services: Are You Ready?”—which you can access via a new tab—experts from Deloitte and NetSuite joined forces to delve into the significant trends currently shaping the financial services landscape. This article highlights seven of these key trends, each playing a crucial role in the industry’s ongoing evolution.
The Emergence of Mobile Finance Applications: A Paradigm Shift in Financial Services
The rapid ascension of mobile finance applications marks a significant paradigm shift in how financial services cater to an increasingly mobile and dynamic customer base. These applications, focusing on areas like risk management, international payments, and advanced analytics, have transcended their initial status as optional luxuries to become essential tools in today’s financial landscape. This evolution reflects the need for finance companies to offer seamless service across various platforms – from traditional desktops to laptops and, crucially, to mobile devices.
Rakesh Shetty, a partner at Deloitte Canada, encapsulates this trend succinctly: “Wherever you go, your applications, systems, and processes will follow you.” This statement underscores the growing expectation that financial services should be accessible, responsive, and adaptable to the ever-changing rhythms of customers’ lives. It’s a testament to the industry’s shift towards a more integrated, user-centric approach, ensuring that key financial operations are not just mobile-friendly, but also efficient and streamlined across all devices.
Enhancing the Employee Experience in Finance
The significance of a positive workplace experience, particularly in fostering and motivating talent within the finance sector, cannot be overstated. Rakesh Shetty, a prominent figure at Deloitte Canada, emphasizes the criticality of this aspect. He advocates for businesses to provide their incoming finance professionals with an experience akin to the ‘Amazon experience’ in terms of the technology utilized in their operations. This approach centers around three fundamental pillars: ease of use, flexibility, and scalability.
Shetty’s recommendation is rooted in the understanding that the quality of technological interaction plays a pivotal role in an employee’s efficiency and job satisfaction. By adopting a user-centric design that mirrors the intuitive and responsive nature of platforms like Amazon, companies can significantly enhance their employees’ engagement and productivity. The focus on simplicity, adaptability to varying needs, and the ability to scale effectively with the organization’s growth, forms the bedrock of a forward-thinking, employee-focused financial workplace. This approach not only benefits the employees but also contributes to the overall agility and competitiveness of the organization in the fast-evolving financial sector.
The Evolution of Real-time Analytics and Decision Making in Finance
The landscape of the finance function has undergone a profound transformation, moving beyond traditional practices such as merely closing the books and completing effective month-end cycles. Rakesh Shetty, a notable figure in Deloitte Canada, highlights this shift towards a more dynamic approach. The key lies in leveraging centralized data sources, akin to the capabilities provided by NetSuite with its comprehensive, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.
By integrating data from finance and other departments, companies can now access a holistic, end-to-end view of their operations in real-time. This integration is not just a technological upgrade; it represents a fundamental change in how financial data is utilized and interpreted. The availability of real-time data is a game-changer, enabling more informed and timely decision-making processes. It’s a step towards a future where financial insights are immediate, comprehensive, and capable of driving strategic decisions in a way that traditional methods simply cannot match. This evolution in analytics and decision-making is an essential component for businesses aiming to stay agile and competitive in the ever-evolving financial landscape.
Advancing Automation in the Finance Sector
Automation in the finance sector is witnessing a significant upsurge, as observed by Rakesh Shetty of Deloitte Canada. The industry is evolving from experimental stages, like proofs of concept and pilot projects, to the practical implementation of automated solutions. These advancements are not just technological feats; they are reshaping the user experience within the financial landscape.
Deloitte’s recent collaboration with a financial institution exemplifies this shift. The institution has successfully automated its entire request intake process, now adeptly managing an impressive volume of 100 reports, accounting for 85 requests each week, through automation. Shetty highlights the transformative impact of this change: “That automated intake process allowed the bank to free up its resources to do more value-driven work.” This statement underscores a pivotal shift in resource allocation – from routine, manual tasks to more strategic, value-added activities.
The trend towards automation in finance is a clear indicator of the industry’s commitment to efficiency, precision, and enhanced service delivery. By automating repetitive and time-consuming processes, financial institutions are not only optimizing their workflows but also opening new avenues for innovation and strategic engagement. This transition signifies a move towards a more streamlined, effective, and forward-thinking financial sector.
The Expansion of Global Operations in Financial Services
The financial services sector is increasingly embracing a global perspective, extending its reach to international markets and networks. This shift reflects a strategic response to a diversifying client base that spans across continents. Rakesh Shetty, a distinguished figure at Deloitte Canada, articulates this trend: “Our client base is from all over the globe, so we want to make sure that the technology that supports our finance functions is also geared towards globalization.”
Shetty’s insight highlights the crucial need for financial technology to adapt to the complexities of global operations. This includes ensuring compliance with multiple Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and adhering to the varied regulatory requirements specific to each country. The move towards globalizing financial operations isn’t just about expanding reach; it’s about refining financial services to be as inclusive and versatile as possible, catering to a diverse and global clientele.
This approach necessitates a sophisticated understanding of international finance laws, regulations, and practices, ensuring seamless integration and functionality across different financial landscapes. By doing so, financial institutions can provide more tailored and effective services, thereby enhancing their global competitiveness and relevance in a rapidly evolving financial world.
Advancements in Predictive Modeling within Fintech
The fintech sector is progressively steering towards prediction-based models, particularly in managing key financial aspects like cash flow. This observation comes from Rakesh Shetty of Deloitte Canada, who underscores the burgeoning role of predictive modeling in finance. Shetty specifically points out two critical areas where predictive forecasting is making a significant impact: weekly profit and loss (P&L) reports and weekly forecasting.
The adoption of predictive modeling in these areas signifies a major shift in how financial data is analyzed and utilized. By leveraging historical data, these models are not just about anticipating future trends; they enable more nuanced, informed decision-making, planning, and forecasting. This approach allows financial services companies to go beyond traditional reactive strategies, equipping them with the foresight to make proactive, data-driven decisions.
The potential of predictive modeling in finance is vast. It’s transforming the sector from one that primarily reacts to past and present data, to one that can foresee and strategically plan for future scenarios. This transition is pivotal for companies seeking to enhance their financial management, reduce risk, and seize opportunities in a timely and effective manner. In essence, predictive modeling is not just a technological advancement; it’s a strategic tool reshaping the future of financial decision-making.
The Transformative Impact of Cloud Computing in Finance
Cloud computing has revolutionized the focus within finance, shifting it from mere implementation to a broader emphasis on operationalization, modernization, and continuous evolution. This insight comes from Rakesh Shetty of Deloitte Canada, who highlights the significant advantages of cloud technology in the financial sector. According to Shetty, “The beauty of cloud technology is that it’s built for speed-to-value.” This statement underscores the efficiency and agility that cloud-based solutions bring to financial operations.
One of the most notable impacts of this shift is the dramatic reduction in implementation times. Processes that traditionally spanned 12 to 18 months are now being condensed into an expedited timeline of just 20 to 24 weeks on average. For instance, NetSuite’s average SuiteSuccess implementation is completed in merely 100 days. This accelerated pace is not just about faster deployment; it represents a fundamental change in how financial tools are integrated and utilized within organizations.
Looking ahead, Shetty emphasizes the importance of embracing future software updates and maintaining a nimble finance team. This approach is essential for driving efficient end-to-end operations. As organizations continue to grow and scale, the foundation provided by cloud technology ensures sustainability and adaptability to support this growth. The cloud isn’t just a technological upgrade; it’s a strategic enabler, fostering an environment where continuous improvement and scalability are not just possible but are actively encouraged and facilitated.
Revolutionizing Financial Management with Cloud ERP: The NetSuite Advantage
NetSuite, a frontrunner in ERP solutions, offers a comprehensive suite of cloud-based financial management tools designed to adeptly navigate the latest trends in the industry. This platform empowers companies with an array of features: real-time metrics, advanced reporting, robust automation, and user-friendly self-service capabilities, all accessible from a versatile, anywhere-access platform. The inherent efficiency of NetSuite’s ERP system streamlines everyday financial transactions, accelerates the financial close process, and ensures adherence to regulatory compliance standards.
David Silver, a master principal solution consultant at Oracle NetSuite, emphasizes the user empowerment aspect of this system. NetSuite decentralizes access to financial data, allowing individuals across an organization to retrieve the information they require autonomously, without needing to go through the finance department. “Users can see everything on their screens and use that data to do their jobs more effectively,” Silver explains. This feature is especially beneficial for routine needs, such as generating a specific monthly report, which users can easily execute independently.
In today’s environment, where remote work is increasingly prevalent, NetSuite’s “access from anywhere” capability is invaluable. The platform extends its reach with native mobile applications for both iOS and Android, ensuring seamless operation across various devices. Furthermore, NetSuite’s multi-entity accounting feature is particularly useful for organizations with a global footprint, as highlighted by Shetty in the webinar. It allows users, regardless of their location – be it Canada, the US, the UK, or Tokyo – to selectively view data for a specific entity or to switch effortlessly to a comprehensive view of the entire company. This flexibility and ease of access ensure that NetSuite users are equipped to manage their financial operations effectively, regardless of their geographical spread or the complexity of their organizational structure.