As we move into 2024, the UK economy is facing economic stagnation, escalating regulatory obligations (ISO 20022, UK SOx) and rapid technological advancements (AI, automation). Many finance departments feel like they are facing an uphill battle to keep up with developments and stay compliant.
The current landscape also demands finance leaders showcase their prowess as a strategic advisor in critical business decisions, providing insight and stability, and becoming the guiding force for organisations navigating through these challenging times.
With finance teams in need of enhanced technology, compliance guidance and strategic insight, we decided to explore what finance trends are emerging for 2024.
About the report
Conducted in November-December 2023, AccessPay’s Finance Trends Report 2024 sheds light on the imperative shift towards digitalisation and automation in the corporate banking space.
Drawing insights from leading UK businesses, this report unveils the drivers, challenges, and technology adoption trends of finance departments in today’s dynamic environment.
Roles of respondents included finance directors, finance managers, and treasury managers; providing a comprehensive view of industry trends and priorities.
You can gain full access to the report below.
Key findings from the Finance Trends Report 2024
Main challenges and objectives of Finance Teams
- Driving growth amid economic hardships has emerged as the most critical objective for finance departments with 65% citing this a key objective. Finance directors and their teams are at the forefront, navigating testing times and ensuring sound financial management.
- The threat of fraud is prevalent. Escalating cases of fraud and heightened regulatory scrutiny necessitate a robust fraud prevention strategy, with 45% of businesses citing this as a key challenge. The new Corporate Governance Regime (UK SOx) also adds pressure, mandating fraud statements and strong payment controls for finance teams.
- Staff retention remains a critical concern due to a tight labour market, impacting productivity and necessitating heightened retention efforts.
- 40% are looking for the right technology to improve their operational efficiency amidst evolving regulatory landscapes.
Drivers for Digital Transformation in Finance
- Efficiency is at the forefront. 79% prioritise technology to enhance efficiency, but notably, technology adoption isn’t seen as a means to reduce headcount, but to aide faster, strategic decisions.
- Operational Resilience is emerging as a top priority. 76% of respondents highlighted the need for better operational resilience and security, there’s a growing emphasis on reducing risks associated with manual processes.
- Integration challenges between banks and back-office systems. Manual processes between ERP systems and banking portals lead to inefficiencies, increased fraud risk, and compromised decision-making due to limited cash visibility.
Multi-geography and multi-bank relationships
The report discovered that managing multiple banking portals, cash visibility, and fraud risks across multiple countries poses significant challenges.
69% of respondents operating internationally selected managing access and control to multiple banking portals as their number one challenge. Processes tend to be localised and the lack of central oversight can increase vulnerability to fraud.
Corporate-to-bank integration technology emerges as a solution, offering consolidated financial views for effective decision-making.
Technological advancements & ISO 20022
The report has also found businesses are going into 2024 at varying stages in technological adoption. Simultaneously, implementing ISO 20022 presents cause for digital transformation, however, with some startling stats reveal many businesses are unprepared, highlighting a significant risk for the payment landscape.
Amidst challenges; digital transformation becomes key for finance departments to thrive. Manual processes pose risks, underscoring the urgency for technology adoption.
Corporate-to-bank integration stands out as a promising solution, especially in streamlining multi-geography operations and ISO 20022 migration.
For detailed insights into these emerging trends and crucial challenges, download the full report and learn how you can achieve financial agility and stability.