In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, we hear increasingly more about digitalization and how it transforms our daily lives and work style and habits. We also hear even more that human labour may be replaced by robots one day. However, experts say there is no reason to worry and point to the finance sector, where the synergy of the human factor and process automation drives its progress.

Implementation of digital processes for competitive advantage and business growth.

Digitalization in finance, particularly related to data analysis and systematization processes, plays an important role in today’s business environment. Efficient data management directly impacts business performance both in terms of speed and quality. According to Andžej Rynkevič, Director at the outsourcing company Baltic Virtual Assistants, the digitalization of various financial processes can even give companies a competitive advantage and ensure long-term growth.

“Digital processes should be relevant for finance-related businesses willing to maintain their competitiveness and expand. Without financial technologies, there is a risk of losing existing or potential customers. Accordingly, more and more of them are looking for process optimization opportunities themselves and therefore need partners who can ensure efficiency and high quality of services. Moreover, automation of certain jobs relieves the burden on professionals, thus reducing the likelihood of errors”, says the expert. He also adds that the implementation of digital processes helps companies create a competitive advantage in attracting customers and employees. “In financial services, efficient and intuitive digital processes or tools alone are not enough to perform tasks. And the key aspect is that the best professionals are increasingly choosing a workplace based on whether the company will be able to offer them goos to excel as professionals and work efficiently. At the end of the day, it is easier to perform tasks using automation tools than to do them manually for a long time.”

Monotonous and time-consuming tasks are automated first.

In the words of A. Rynkevič, digitalization in finance has first affected monotonous and time-consuming tasks such as financial data processing that used to be done manually. “Computers can perform millions of instructions and calculations per minute, while it may take hours or even days for humans. Automation tools find data, then process it and prepare it in an understandable format so that employees can filter and use it to perform their task by a few clicks of a button,” the expert continues.

The expert admits that the tools used to perform the tasks are changing as the role of the financier itself. “Given the current changes, it is obvious that the role of a modern financier is also changing – he/she has to be aware not only of the financial aspects but also have a background in information technology, which makes this job even more dynamic and competitive”, he says.

According to A. Rynkevič, it shows that the importance of the human factor in the financial sector should not diminish over time – digitalization tools are not the only aspect needed to ensure efficient processes, as professionals must properly select tools. To make use of digitalization possibilities, proper tools and skilled finance professionals who must understand the tools available on the market and be able to select, use, and often integrate them are needed.

A. Rynkevič reveals that in the company that he is running, in addition to a significant part of the tasks performed by the finance department, the tasks of other departments, including human resources management, sales, administration, or marketing, have been digitalized. The Director also adds that the company has a special Expert Committee for Automation to assess opportunities for digital development. “All our departments follow the rule that in case of a higher demand for human resources, the request should first pass the Expert Committee for Automation. We focus on the most efficient, highest-value tasks, so all the rest that can be completed with the help of digital equipment is left to computers”, A. Rynkevič says.

The pandemic accelerated digitalization.

As to the impact of the pandemic on the digitalization of financial services, the expert believes that the situation has accelerated the pace of digitalization, but the tools and instruments themselves are not new. “I don’t think there was a revolution. However, the pandemic encouraged more businesses to implement digital processes and start using digital financial tools that were already developed. On the other hand, the situation led to a general agreement that all documents and contracts could be signed online. As for financial institutions, it is also important to note that the pandemic has become a stimulus for them to adopt models of remote work, which in the pre-pandemic world was considered too risky”, Rynkevič concludes.