By Sebastien Marchon, CEO at Rydoo
The past two years have been largely dominated by the challenges of digital transformation in the FinTech industry. However, 2022 looks set to be the year of balance as finance teams and solution providers find new ways to innovate, integrate and improve efficiency.
As the year draws to a close, there is no better time to take stock of the progress made across the fintech ecosystem over the year just passed and look ahead to what the future holds.
Let’s take a closer look…
Innovations of the year
The contactless revolution
Undoubtedly one major fintech trend that has continued to accelerate in 2021 is the adoption of digital payments. As the pandemic placed significant restrictions on the world, the use of contactless payment and innovative payment methods – from security biometric use to spend management – has now become the norm for millions.
This technology first became necessary to restrict the transmission of a virus that can spread rapidly through physical payment methods. However, once the technology was implemented, consumers and retailers quickly began to see the ease and convenience of digital payment methods, alongside the preventative social health benefits.
Being able to both make and manage payments on our personal devices has certainly paved the way for a cashless and paperless future for many parts of the world, bringing a host of environmental benefits along the way.
An integrated ecosystem
We are also seeing significant advances in embedded finance, whereby integration across the Fintech ecosystem is continually increasing. Companies are beginning to use more and more integration services, from payments to insurance, through APIs. These integrations are adding more value to their platforms, while outsourcing operations to a third party.
Developers no longer have to worry about building the stack from the start, allowing them more time to innovate. But, this is only the beginning. The last year has seen an uptake in embedded finance in non-finance brands, yet the coming year will rapidly accelerate usage through open banking.
Ones to watch in 2022
Data is the new currency
It has been known for some time now that data is the new currency, having entered a digitally dependent world. It comes as no surprise that this trend of using data to drive technology forward is not going away anytime soon and I predict over the coming year it will be everywhere, growing in popularity quicker and stronger than before.
The use of data will then lead to more advanced services and applications that can be used in the finance industry. When decisions were once reactive, businesses and their finance teams can start to introduce predictive models based on quality data that allow them to improve their processes, slick up forecasting and identify anomalies that can be explored for accurate reporting.
The power of automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will be among those. Strengthening customer relationships has been a focus for the finance industry for a long time and has also been one of the greatest challenges. As businesses grow, it is only natural for finance departments to start seeking out digital ways that can make all-important efficiency gains whilst maximising profitability.
From financial accounting to cash management and internal communication, many key functions of the finance role are being increasingly digitised. Yet one area that can be overlooked by many organisations is expense management and reporting.
With AI and ML, automating processes will soon be standard practice, utilising algorithms and prediction models to quantify and reduce risk. Implementing an expense management automation tool can provide a significant return for the effort required for very little resource. It can bridge the gap between the employee end-user and the finance operators and free up time for more complex work that authorises each expense manually. As businesses look to automation for increased ROI and better user experiences, this is certainly one to watch for 2022.
The crypto revolution
Another trend is the slow acceptance of cryptocurrency among professionals and consumers, alongside the generalisation of the blockchain. Blockchain technology has made significant strides in its development and widespread adoption in recent years, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. As the technology that powers cryptocurrencies and acts as a means of transaction validation, the financial industry should prepare for a revolution that will transform how we process transactions, manage data and deliver services.
There’s no denying that 2021 has pushed FinTech innovation into hyper speed. It’s now up to the ecosystem to collaborate and leverage these technologies in order to and take finance operations into 2022 and beyond.