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Global financial leaders universally identify “increasing automation” as a top priority in their organization – but only nine percent say it’s a reality

Global financial leaders universally identify “increasing automation” as a top priority in their organization – but only nine percent say it’s a reality

Serrala survey reveals an industry need to speed up adoption of automated solutions to improve productivity and lower costs 

HAMBURG, Germany – Serrala, the international provider of solutions for inbound and outbound payments and related finance processes, today announced survey findings from more than 180 global finance leaders, revealing that automation – despite remaining a top priority across financial organizations – is surprisingly under-adopted.

According to the data, 98 percent of respondents identify “increasing automation” as a priority in their organization, but only nine percent say processes are fully automated.

The survey, which examined whether global finance leaders have the right processes, tools and talent in place to meet the needs of their organization today and in the future, highlighted the uphill battle leaders are facing as they push to drive adoption of automated solutions in their financial functions. Improving productivity and lowering costs are tied as the primary driving forces behind automating financial functions, but a whopping 71 percent of respondents say their financial processes are only somewhat automated – leaving a huge amount of efficiency (and savings) yet to be realized.

Automated solutions are also in high demand across the organization: while 26 percent of leaders recognized order-to-cash processes as the most critical, every process was recognized as having a significant need for automation – including cash management (19 percent), procure-to-pay (16 percent), record-to-report (16 percent), treasury (12 percent) and payments (11 percent).

However, despite a hunger for automation and modernization, tech adoption is surprisingly slow.When asked which technologies financial teams are adopting to speed up modernization, the results are underwhelming: the vast majority of companies are either considering or testing technologies like cloud, RPA, blockchain, mobile and AI – and very few have moved into full deployment (17 percent have full cloud deployments, and 12 percent have full mobile deployments – the other technologies don’t surpass four percent). Most surprising is the high rate of companies not even considering adopting these technologies: a significant majority don’t have RPA (31 percent), Blockchain (53 percent) or AI (44 percent) on their radar.

“Modernizing processes is a critical but intensive undertaking, and the results of this survey illustrate what we hear every day from our customers: that automation is highly valued, but not widely adopted,” said Sven Lindemann, CEO of Serrala. “In order to evolve and become more efficient, organizations must recognize the necessity of advanced technologies and integrated solutions to drive their processes forward.”

Other important findings from the survey include:

  • Company leadership sees the financial function as increasingly critical: 87 percent of global financial leaders agree that their C-Suite sees the finance group as more important than they did five years ago…and 28 percent say drastically more important. Similarly, 45 percent say their finance department is fully in the loop on new IT initiatives, showing strong integration across the business.
  • Change is coming – but the industry is excited about it: When asked about the ways in which the financial department will be different in five years, only four percent think that nothing will change. Instead, 77 percent agree it will be more fully digitized, with a small group expecting changes leading to fewer staff (15 percent) and increased outsourcing (four percent). The takeaway? Leaders are bullish about the positive impact of digitization in their organization, instead of fearing a possible impact on headcount.

The release of this survey data comes on the heels of the unveiling of the Serrala brand, formerly the Hanse Orga Group, following a series of strategic M&A efforts. Integrating the experience and offerings of the acquired companies, Serrala offers an inbound and outbound payments ecosystem that provides security and compliance at every step in the value chain. Read more about the announcement here.

To learn more about the survey, please visit

Global Banking & Finance Review


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