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  • Mike Doman
    Technology Journalist

    Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

    Mike Doman
    Technology Journalist

    Mike Doman is a technology, lifestyle, industrial and education writer

    For finance, accounting and other professional services, technology has fundamentally shifted operations. What used to be primarily functional is now about much, much more.

    When you picture an accountant’s office, beige carpets, a decades old photocopier and a National Geographic from the 80s probably feels familiar. Looking back to a decade ago, a trip to an accountant or financial advisor was like a trip to the dentist –a necessary inconvenience.

    Fast-forward to today. The premises have probably had a refresh but more strikingly, most basic transactions can be completed with a smartphone. What started as purely transactional has moved towards being more focused on value, transparency, communication and specialisation.

    This evolution is driving innovation in financial institutions. New ways of thinking have driven fundamental and far-reaching change, with technology at the core. 

    A man and woman talk with one another behind a window

    Customer first

    Innovation, driven in large part by smaller players looking to capture market share, have put a customer-centric lens on the industry that’s moved up to the chain until it’s become industry standard: Commonwealth Bank “can”, ANZ “lives in your world” and KPMG “cuts through the complexity” for its clients.

    The result has been seen in a variety of ways, including the broadening of opening hours, technology solutions that facilitate better information, and new job roles including mobile bankers and lenders.

    Of prime importance in putting the customer first is building trust. A recent Telstra report, Mobile Identity: The Fusion of Financial Services, Mobility and Identity, revealed that more than half of consumers value trust as the most important driver of choice when choosing a financial services provider.

    Building trust through people

    If having trust is of primary concern, having the right people with the right expertise becomes vitally important. Technology solutions, including cloud-based platforms, enable financial operations to be more collaborative with clients and include more input from colleagues that may not be able to be in the room.

    From a customer perspective, the benefit lies in having access to one person who can collate, process and present ideas from a number of disciplines in one package and receive a solution that meets their needs without the inconvenience of multiple appointments.

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    Real time information

    Good financial decisions are based on information. The better the information, the better the solution that’s delivered. With a mobile network that’s capable of handling more bandwidth than ever before and cloud-based applications like Office 365, the ability to review almost real-time information from wherever there’s an internet connection is easier than ever.

    This is already being put to good use in operations with stock ordering systems, but for finance staff on the road, having the right information is integral to establishing credibility and providing the right advice.

    Putting a face to the name

    But by becoming too reliant on technology, it’s possible to lose a personal touch. While the idea of moving as much of your operations to digital as possible can be appealing from a cost-perspective, it’s important to ensure that the personal touch isn’t lost.

    One area seeing investment in finance operations across the country is video conferencing, which can enable specialists in a central location to connect with customers into a branch, letting them see who they’re dealing with and giving the added benefit of body language when it comes to sealing the deal.

    For finance operations, differentiating the business comes from providing superior advice quickly and without compromising on the ability to build a relationship. After all, finance isn’t just the business of numbers – it’s people’s homes, their businesses their futures and their stability.

    Communicating that you’re the right business to handle that starts with expertise, is benefitted by the right information and made more accessible by technology. 

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