The role of the chief financial officer (CFO) has evolved significantly in the era of digital transformation. CFOs are no longer just responsible for managing the financial operations of their organisations, but also for driving innovation and growth. One of the key areas where CFOs are leading the change is in the adoption of the latest payments technology, such as crypto assets, cloud-based platforms and application programming interfaces (APIs).
Crypto assets: The new frontier of finance
Crypto assets, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, are digital currencies that operate on a decentralised network of computers. They offer a number of benefits for businesses, such as reducing transaction costs, increasing efficiency and enhancing security. According to a report by Sage, around half of US finance leaders have either used crypto assets for personal transactions (47%), invested in them (51%) or plan to invest in them (49%). Moreover, one in five (21%) of these leaders say their organisations currently accept crypto assets as payment, compared to around one in 10 finance leaders in the UK (13%) and Canada (12%). A further one-third (33%) of US finance leaders say their organisation has plans to accept crypto assets as payment within the next year.
Some of the examples of businesses that have embraced crypto assets include:
- Steam, a popular online gaming platform, started accepting bitcoin payments in 2016, offering a cheaper and more convenient payment option for its customers.
- Vueling, a Spanish airline, announced it was partnering with crypto asset payment provider BitPay and global payment solutions provider UATP to accept bitcoin payments by early 2023.
- Tesla, a leading electric car manufacturer, invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin in February 2023 and said it would soon accept it as a form of payment for its products.
Cloud-based platforms: The backbone of digital finance
Cloud-based platforms are online services that provide access to various applications and resources, such as data storage, analytics and software. They enable businesses to streamline their financial processes, improve their performance and scale their operations. According to a report by Accenture, 60% of traditional finance tasks are now automated, almost double what was reported in 2018 (34%). Cloud-based platforms are the backbone of this automation, as they allow finance teams to integrate various systems and tools, such as robotic process automation (RPA), advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Some of the benefits of using cloud-based platforms for finance include:
- Reducing operational costs and risks, as cloud-based platforms eliminate the need for maintaining physical infrastructure and ensure data security and compliance.
- Enhancing collaboration and communication, as cloud-based platforms enable finance teams to share information and insights with other departments and stakeholders in real time.
- Increasing agility and innovation, as cloud-based platforms allow finance teams to adapt to changing business needs and leverage new technologies and opportunities.
APIs: The connectors of digital finance
APIs are interfaces that allow different applications and systems to communicate and exchange data with each other. They enable businesses to create seamless and personalised customer experiences, as well as to access new markets and services. According to a report by McKinsey, APIs can generate up to $1 trillion in value for the global economy by 2023, as they facilitate the creation of new business models and ecosystems. APIs are especially important for the finance industry, as they enable the integration of various payment methods and platforms, such as crypto assets, mobile wallets and peer-to-peer transfers.
Some of the examples of businesses that have leveraged APIs for finance include:
- Stripe, a leading online payment platform, provides APIs that allow businesses to accept and manage payments from various sources, such as credit cards, bank transfers and crypto assets.
- Plaid, a fintech company that connects bank accounts to applications, provides APIs that allow businesses to access and verify financial data, such as income, identity and balance.
- TransferWise, a money transfer service that offers low-cost and transparent exchange rates, provides APIs that allow businesses to send and receive payments across borders and currencies.