Forecasting 2021: Influential trends and key disruptors across the financial and professional services

We see several trends growing in influence in the coming months?? driven by new tech and accelerated by Covid-19?? as organisations rethink traditional models and prioritise digitisation.

This change in perspective extends to individuals, with many Gen Zs and millennials moving to full-time homeworking. However, it is unlikely to remain their dominant model as the pandemic subsides.

A hybrid model could take over, with younger employees splitting their time between remote working and the office. A Gallup poll among millennials who work remotely found that ?a whopping 74 per cent of them don't want to go back to the office five days a week?.

According to Deloitte ?the less visible and more challenging transformation? that has occurred during the pandemic is 'the sudden requirement to digitise processes, including previously paper-based transactions?.

These transformations are likely to introduce further risk into business operations, making cybersecurity an even greater concern that businesses cannot afford to ignore.

 A recent high profile cyberattack showed that hackers will find vulnerabilities? in any system structure. This particular attack gave ?the attackers access to an extraordinary array of potential targets in the US. alone, more than 425 of the Fortune 500 and all the top five accounting firms?.

As cyberattacks increase, firms will invest more in cybertechnology while recognising that security is as much a business and people issue as a technical one.

They should hire more people into their IT security function and encourage greater diversity in recruitment, as well as training all their staff in best practice.

In this context, firms will need to take particular care in configuring their cloud environments and use their budget creatively, e.g. integrating AI-based cybersecurity tools into their networks.

The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques is increasing: Gartner claims that ?easy-to-use APIs are beginning to ?democratise? AI, which is actually starting to transform how humans and machines interact?.

And there is a shift from standalone AI applications to full integration. Examples include applying machine learning to data analytics, and natural language processing ?taking care of the easier conversations in call centres?. Such initiatives will be more successful in organisations that are already highly automated.

Meanwhile, ?fintechs are reformulating business models, with innovative software and algorithms, AI, and big data? and a greater use of APIs to capitalise on open data opportunities. They are set to extend from open banking to open finance, offering their customers a broader range of financial services.

And fintechs will continue to benefit from an increasingly digitised society, where ?the evolution towards cashless has been given a ten-year boost in the right direction?.

Individuals and organisations are taking stock of these rapid technological and socioeconomic changes and will rebalance their strategies and working practices in new and inventive ways.

Confirmation, part of Thomson Reuters, pioneered the idea of digital audit confirmations in 2000 and still leads the industry today. More than 16,000 audit firms, 4,000 banks and departments, and 5,000 law firms have put our platform to work. We span 170 countries and process more than one trillion dollars in confirmations each year.


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