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Big data becoming more important in finance, despite hesitation

The latest FinTech Barometer shows that despite big data's anticipated rise in the financial industry, its accompanying sectors of automation and robotisation remain worrying for some professionals.

Big data is set to become a necessity in the financial world within the next five years, according to Onguard’s 2019 FinTech Barometer.

The survey also showed that in its current form, big data is mostly being used by financial directors to make well-informed decisions (54%), make predictive analyses (41%), and to analyse large databases (29%).

Additionally, with its widespread use, the majority of chief financial officers (63%) expect that, within the next five years, the financial world will be unable to operate without embracing big data—with 13% believing this is already the situation today.

Marieke Saeij, chief executive officer at Onguard, said: “I’m not surprised that CFOs expect to be completely dependent on big data within a short time frame. Big data can help them, as well as finance professionals within their organisations, with the execution of their work.”

Despite this, roughly one in five chief financial officers surveyed reported they do not currently use big data, indicating a clear juxtaposition within the industry.

Solidifying this industry split, in 2019 Oracle survey, 54% of finance leaders surveyed supported updating current finance systems to meet new productivity needs—which includes embracing big data.

As big data continues to grow and the financial world becomes increasingly digital, financial directors will have to accept that the world is changing—and automation might be the key to staying ahead of the game.

An important concern

Despite generally agreeing on its importance, big data’s potential impact on employment has become a concern for chief financial officers, with 36% viewing it as an employment threat.

Additionally, 42% of respondents expect automation and artificial intelligence to impact employment opportunities, with 30% calling robotisation the biggest job threat.

However, as Saeij explained, “Finance professionals have a great deal of information from both internal and external sources that is of added value for both the performance of the organisation and customer service.

“The more information that is available about the market and customers, the better finance professionals can advise customers.”

Rather than taking jobs away, automation provides information to finance professionals while assisting with in-house tasks, easing workloads, and completing time-consuming tasks—not replacing a role, but enhancing it.

Real-time data processing, assisted by automation, also allows an organisation to make decisions using the most current data available.

That information can be checked by both artificial and real-world intelligence, ensuring that employees, shareholders and even consumers receive the most accurate, current data available.  Financial professionals also benefit from the risk analyses that automation employs, as Saeij explained.

“Thanks to big data, risks can be assessed more accurately, and it is also possible to predict in real-time whether and when customers will start paying, so as an organisation, you can properly anticipate this,” Saeij said. “This development will require finance professionals to develop new skills, such as greater analytical capacity, as a necessity.”

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