2024: new banking, new products and the rise of the AI co-worker

AI generated robot face

Last year will go down in history as the one in which generative AI came to the fore. But many see businesses as still only at the beginning of this journey,

Bigger and better things are just around the corner in 2024, a year in which the technology will be properly utilised and the full benefits will be realised, say experts.

One of them is Russell Gammon, Chief Solutions Officer at Tax Systems, who predicts the likes of ChatGPT will go from being “a fun toy to play around with, to the foundation of business applications and products”.

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Hugh Scantlebury: education is key

He said: “We have already seen businesses enhance existing products with AI but over the next 12 months we will see it add real commercial value as whole new products are built upon the technology.”

And with this comes multiple advantages for finance and accounting teams, he adds, suggesting that it can take over “large parts of mundane admin tasks. Without the burden of spending hours on data entry and analysis, tax professionals can simply review the outcomes and apply their tax knowledge to the data set. Focusing on these higher value roles not only increases efficiency and productivity, but it also improves job satisfaction. The rise of the ‘AI co-worker’ will be the key trend of 2024.”

But as we have seen with other advances, such as the Cloud, the finance industry is traditionally slow to adopt and it is unlikely that generative AI will be any different.

Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla, said organisations should make 2024 “about educating those parts of the finance sector who are wary or unsure of AI — perhaps starting by dispelling fears that it could replace them. Supporting colleagues who want external training, running company workshops, and building AI education into job success metrics are ways companies can help their finance teams embrace AI and use it to their – and their company’s – advantage”.

And with the demand for digital banking set to grow exponentially, Olaf Baunack, SVP – Global Head Financial Services & Insurance Business at Intellias, encourages banks to pay extra attention to the changing needs of a new geration of customers.

“Mobile payments are key to making banking services accessible, fast, safe, and reliable for everyone,”he said. “This represents the direction for the future development of the banking industry in 2024 and as a whole. Millennials and Gen Zs are growing their disposable income and personal wealth. FinTech product adoption is surging.

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Gary Lynam: political risk

“When you pair these facts together, it’s obvious that to stay competitive every bank will need to set a higher customer experience [CX] bar.

“In addition, the evolving needs of the current customer persona will require continuous investments in improving the latter. CX and Open Banking are now a defining competitive differentiator in the banking sector, and we can expect to see a significant rise in the use of digital wallets for mobile cashless payments.”

Gary Lynam, Managing Director of EMEA at Protecht, notes that 2024 “is going to be the biggest election year in history for democratic societies, including the US presidential election in November 2024.

“So, it’s not difficult to see that geopolitical risk is still viewed by many as a wildcard – there is so much difficulty predicting these outcomes with any certainty and subsequent direct or indirect impacts for organisations.”

He points to recent research from Protecht which found that the current unsettled global operating environment is reflected in the top three critical risk areas identified by financial organisations as geopolitical uncertainty, liquidity/access to capital and cyber threats/data breaches.

“With voters in 40 countries heading to the polls, the results will have a significant impact on an already fragile geopolitical and economic environment,” he said.

Olaf Baunack headshot

Olaf Baunack: need to raise the CX bar

The victors will inherit an unsettled economic situation that will see many organisationslooking to their governments for support. “Over the past year, we have witnessed the challenges of inflation and elevated costs, further intensified by conflicts in Europe, which unfortunately don’t show any sign of disappearing any time soon.”

Rob Shaw, SVP and GM EMEA at Fluent Commerce, recognises the struggle  for organisations to keep in tops of cost issues. “With costs tight, multiple projects are all now battling for the same budget,” he said.

“The Chief Financial Officer is now the key buyer, prompting a change in mindset for a lot of businesses. There is now a huge emphasis around return on investment and business cases. That said, it’s important to remember that the business case for change isn’t just about savings, it’s also about growth.”


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