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Almost half of finance professionals lack awareness of blockchain and its benefits

  • 48% either have no idea what blockchain is or fail to understand its uses in finance

More needs to be done to raise awareness of blockchain technology and its benefits, as 19% of finance professionals are unaware of its uses within finance and 29% have no idea what blockchain is, according to the FinTech Barometer, an annual survey of 1,000 finance professionals conducted by order-to-cash specialist Onguard.

While 29% of finance professionals either already use or are beginning to plan using blockchain, this figure rises to 57% when looking specifically at the CFO job role. This indicates that CFOs understand the importance of this technology, but that they aren’t currently sharing this knowledge with less senior employees. When asked how often blockchain is discussed in meetings, over half (52%) of finance professionals admitted that it is never mentioned. However, when CFOs were asked the same question, 45% stated they talk about blockchain at least once a week, and 17% discuss it every day.

In terms of the technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the finance sector, cloud (38%), AI (32%) and big data (30%) came top, while blockchain was seen as disruptive by only 10%.

Despite this current lack of awareness, finance professionals seem ready for the arrival of new technologies, including artificial intelligence as well as blockchain, with 67% either planning deployment or already using them.

Financial service providers transform into IT companies

As these technologies are implemented, financial services organisations will be required to update their business models. This is a sentiment echoed by more than a third (38%) of finance professionals who expect financial institutions to be fully transformed into IT companies within ten years. While finance professionals aren’t afraid that their employer will disappear, with 78% confident that their current employer will still exist in ten years’ time, 39% believe that the arrival of blockchain and artificial intelligence will have a major impact on employment.

MariekeSaeij, CEO, Onguard commented: “Whereas in 2018 technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence were mostly discredited and labelled as ‘hype’, we can see that organisations have now actually started adopting them. At Onguard, for example, we use artificial intelligence to optimise the entire order-to-cash process for companies. This makes it possible for organisations to predict whether and when their customers will pay. Blockchain also offers a solution for financial services. For example, it makes the origin of payments transparent and a lot safer, so that there is no risk of fraud. However, more awareness needs to be raised about the benefits of blockchain, as this research shows its uses aren’t widely known.

“While the exact uses of blockchain are not yet defined, the level of activity using this form of technology is only going to increase.  Businesses are already benefitting from enhanced data security and the ability to automate admin processes. With nearly two thirds of CFOs already preparing an initiative related to blockchain, I expect that this is just the beginning of a blockchain revolution.”