A trend has been growing across the United States in nearly all sectors of the economy. It is a trend that many believe will push the world to be faster and more efficient, which gives more time and convenience to consumers. Many believe that the Covid-19 pandemic has worked to accelerate the process.
The trend, of course, is the digitization of nearly all of our lives. This, in turn, is allowing for growth opportunities for remote transactions. For many companies, these advancements in digital purchases and transactions have led to profound changes in the structure, organization, and priorities of the business.
In few industries is this more prevalent than in the world of banking and accounting. Life has been turned upside down over the past decade for professionals in these fields. In many cases, they have had to adapt to a world of online banking and digital investment management. Customer-facing brick and mortar buildings may well be on their way out and our children may never understand the concept of “going to the bank.”
Fewer Visits, More Efficiency
Today, going to the bank to make a deposit, cash a check, or make a transfer seems like somewhat of a foreign concept. Why would anyone take the time to physically go to the bank when they could do everything through an app on their phone? The vast majority of banks have invested significant amounts into designing and creating secure, efficient, and user-friendly apps that allow customers to do just about everything without ever having to set foot into the bank.
Likewise, many accounting and investment firms are transitioning to the same model. For instance, nearly 97% of Equity Group Holding transactions took place in a digital setting, with only 3% occurring in person at branches. Such changes were previously unimaginable. Even a couple of years ago these figures would have been astounding, but the pandemic has pushed many companies to adopt and commit to online strategies more rapidly than planned.
Of course, going online can mean substantial changes for those thinking about making a career in the finance sector. For example, the need for tellers and other personnel who interact directly with customers will likely continue to decline. Meanwhile, the need for professionals who can handle accounting tasks in a virtual setting will continue to increase over the coming years.
The Many Benefits
Fortunately, there are several very real benefits to online transactions. The obvious benefit is ditching the need to visit a branch office to complete business. This means that people can choose almost any institution for their financial needs, even if the nearest office is over 300 miles away.
Another benefit that many don’t immediately think of is the sustainability improvements associated with online transactions. With an online transaction, there is no travel to and from the branch office for either customers or employees. Likewise, there are no printed documents unless the customer prints them — all records are kept digitally for as many years as the institution is required to keep them on hand.
Online investment apps have also made it easier than ever for the masses to get involved with managing their money. The flexibility associated with these tools has made it far more reasonable for people to customize what they want to invest in. For instance, if a customer wants to exclusively invest in socially responsible companies, technology has made that process a lot easier than it previously was. Sustainability practices are associated with long-term returns, which could help more and help people over time.
More Tech Advancements
It is somewhat mind-boggling to think that the transition to online banking and accounting is only scratching the surface of all the places that the industry is going. Digital technology is opening thousands of doors for the finance industry. It is enabling professionals and leaders in the field to drive changes that make the company more efficient, more secure, and more able to respond to advances across our society.
Take blockchain for instance. The relatively new technology is most tightly associated with cryptocurrencies, however, it is quickly being adapted for a much larger variety of uses across the finance industry. One of the many ways the tool can help reduce costs is by reducing the manpower required to balance ledgers. Blockchain can not only run through the steps faster, but it can also do them with greater accuracy than a person could.
Things such as cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and automated data management are set to play significant roles in the advancement of our financial markets. Many of these tools are well on their way to changing the game altogether. Fortunately, many experts believe that the tools are going to remain tools – they will greatly assist professionals in achieving an ever-growing, ever-diversifying workload, not replace humans in many cases.
The changes we are seeing in the financial markets in our day-to-day lives are just scratching the surface of what is going on. We are in the midst of a much larger shift toward digitization within the financial realm. These changes are making our world more efficient, secure, and responsible.
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