May 21, 2024

Demystify the Trends Impacting Finance

You've seen the fiery headlines about the future of finance — from AI replacing entire teams to older forms of payment becoming obsolete. But how much of this buzz is real?

Trends like these were at the heart of a recent OneSource Virtual (OSV) and Financial Executives International (FEI) webinar that aimed to cut through the jargon and clarify the real-world implications of today’s hottest financial trends.

OSV’s panel for this event included Jeffrey Holcombe, VP of finance; Kaylan McDuff, finance technology consultant; and Brooke Arnette, product marketing manager.

We’ve summarized the panel’s conversation below, but you can also hear them speak yourself by checking the on-demand recording for this event.

The role of AI in finance

AI is huge, and it’s not going anywhere. That’s why the topic of AI in finance was first up for our panelists.

Approximately 70% of organizations plan to invest in AI for finance in the next two years, while 42% have already integrated AI into their accounts payable processes.

However, the panel noted that not everyone is excited about AI's larger role in daily life. People inside and outside finance wonder, “Is AI going to take my job?”

The panel had some good news for those in finance asking that question.

AI excels at performing specific tasks, like extracting information from receipts and responding to chat inquiries — in other words, tasks with specific parameters. The AI tools companies are using to make financial tasks more efficient aren’t intelligent or creative in the way people are. Instead, this technology is trained on existing data to complete process-based activities that are necessary but aren’t necessarily strategic. Our panel suggested that instead of eliminating jobs, AI may actually end up creating new roles in finance with a focus on more meaningful, strategic work.

The panel ended this portion of the event by predicting a rise in AI outsourcing solutions, as outsourcing can be more cost-effective than developing in-house solutions. Plus, vendors can establish themselves as experts in specific areas and scale much more easily. For companies wary of investing in AI, partnering with specialized vendors may allow them to dip their toes into the AI waters gradually rather than completely overhauling their processes all at once.

The rise of digital payments

The panel then moved on to the topic of digital payments.

Companies have relied on checks for a long time, and many still do. But with the speed, ease of use, and enhanced security of digital payments, that’s rapidly changing.

For example, OSV’s Invoice Pay solution uses Single-Use Account (SUA) credit cards to pay supplier invoices for customers. Because these SUA cards are only used once and limited to a specific vendor and amount, they’re more secure. SUA card payments also simplify reconciliation and create rebate opportunities by riding established payment rails.

Some companies turn to banks for these advantages, but the panel noted that banks have certain limitations. Specifically, they can make your ERP solution more clunky because they rely on integrations. What’s more, integrating a bank’s solution with your existing ERP can be time-consuming and costly. Third-party vendors often provide a more seamless and cost-effective experience.

As with their conversation about AI, our panel advised starting small with trusted solutions that have a proven track record before overhauling your entire payment system. The panel ended this section of the event by predicting the continued acceleration of digital payments as consumer expectations about immediate payments become further entrenched in the B2B space.

Managing a multigenerational workforce

For the final section, the panel talked about the differences between the generations making up today’s workforce.

It’s predicted that Millennials will make up approximately 75% of the global workforce by 2025, with Gen Z also gaining ground. With the rise of a younger workforce comes the need for companies to adapt. While the needs and expectations of older generations are still important, companies must also consider how they will attract, train, and retain the next generation of talent.

If previous generations valued stability, structure, and tradition more, younger workers focus more on flexibility, work-life balance, and collaboration. They’re also more likely to career-hop, making them harder to retain. Companies that aren’t leveraging AI or digital payments — that aren’t innovating — will have a more challenging time attracting younger workers who are more tech-savvy and want to focus more on career development and less on keying in data.

But how do you balance what’s important to all the generations in your workforce so that no one feels unwelcome or excluded?

As always, it comes down to listening and communication. Leaders have a responsibility to understand not only what their workforce wants but also what they’re concerned about. That’s why, throughout this event, our panel recommended small changes over large ones. Large changes can be overwhelming and risky. But gradual change helps workers see the value in innovation and helps leaders get the buy-in they need to change with the times.

OSV can help you navigate these trends and prepare for the future

As our panel attested, finance is evolving rapidly. For some, these changes have brought uncertainty and hesitation. But change isn’t automatically bad — it can be very beneficial. For employees across generations, AI and the move toward digital payments create opportunities for a renewed focus on meaningful, strategic work and even pave the way for creating entirely new roles.

Contact us to learn more about how OSV’s solutions can help you navigate these trends and prepare for the future. You can also hear directly from our experts by watching the on-demand version of this webinar.

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