Fintech disruption underlines the importance for financial services SaaS automation

Eren Koont
by Eren Koont LinkedIn
May 5, 2020 4:17:00 PM

Financial services may be a bit slower to the automation game than other sectors, but many organizations are now recognizing significant advantages from the integration of billing, revenue, and subscription management software into their IT systems.

As automation technology continues to evolve rapidly, more market sectors are becoming wise to the benefits of automating different steps in the lifecycle of their clients. One group in particular—financial services institutions—may be a bit late to the automation game, but with good reason.

Traditionally conservative in their processes, financial services organizations have depended on the knowledge and insights brought in by their human resources to maintain strict fiduciary controls. Yet, with the major volatility in the global economy over the last decade (and even more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic), such institutions must consider how to adapt. They need to design “systems of systems” to maintain the same level of service for their clients while keeping up with evolving legal,  ethical and regulatory responsibilities to investors, and at the same time, competing with more agile disruptors that are shaking up the sector.

Finance executives are shifting their thinking to get ready for what we expect to be the “new normal” in the financial services sector in the months and years to come. And a key part of that shift involves investing in automation technology that can put them in a better position to compete with emerging, fintech-fueled players in their local markets and around the world.

Top 6 priorities for financial institutions in 2020 and beyond:

  • Update IT operating models to get ready for the “new normal”
  • Slash costs by simplifying legacy systems, taking SaaS beyond the cloud, and adopting artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Build the technological capabilities to get more intelligent about customer needs
  • Prepare architecture to connect to anything, anywhere
  • Pay added attention to cybersecurity
  • Maintain access to the talent and skills necessary to pivot, execute and win in a technology-driven world

(Source: PwC, Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing Disruption)

 

Automation creates value in financial services beyond processing bank accounts and insurance claims

Retail banking institutions, insurance carriers, investment firms, and asset management firms alike are using technological solutions to automate the administrative tasks that tend to take too much time away from more strategic activities. 

Take, for example, digital solutions like Ordway’s billing and revenue automation platform, which help organizations to simplify how they price products and services, create and send out proposals and estimates, issue invoices and payment reminders, collect payments, and recognize and report on revenue. 

Automation technology can be especially useful for organizations with complex fee structures and industry-driven regulatory requirements. Whether your invoicing is based on waterfall or usage, subscription or all of the above, next-generation subscription management platforms like Ordway are designed from the ground-up to streamline financial processes from calculation-to-customer. 

The result: you can save hundreds of hours every month by automating core transactional processes that take place prior to and during the book-close process alone. Add in the associated time- and cost-savings over the course of the fiscal year, and you’ll be set to compete with any well-heeled start-up that comes into your market.

Spotlight on automation success: retirement planning firm Vestwell saves 10 workdays at each quarter-end 

As “the future of retirement advising,” VC-backed financial technology firm Vestwell offers affordable retirement planning advice for financial advisors working at small- to medium-sized companies. Their unbundled, turnkey platform reduces the risks and costs typically associated with creating comprehensive retirement plans.  

Much like Ordway, Vestwell considers the entire lifecycle of the client’s business—from highly customized proposals, to quick and easy client onboarding, streamlined administration and regulatory compliance. 

“If not for the [Ordway] software, we’d probably need another full-time person just to handle billing.”

—Brendan Keogh, Controller, Vestwell

With such high-touch client activities, Vestwell was spending up to 10 days at quarter-end to close their books and manually bill customers. That is, until they began partnering with Ordway!

Vestwell recognized immediate value from the Ordway billing and revenue automation platform: The solution easily handles complex billing scenarios (including recurring, usage- or volume-based, as well as subscription billing), and also offers comprehensive reporting—a useful feature to keep investors in the know on business-critical information. At the same time, Ordway’s REST API makes for easy integration with Vestwell’s proprietary IT systems, Salesforce, QuickBooks, and other enterprise software.

Vestwell finds efficiency with Ordway's billing and revenue automation platform

Vestwell-casestudy_v7

Read the full case study on Vestwell's usage-based billing configuration

With fintech disruptors entering the global marketplace at an accelerated pace over the last five to seven years, financial institutions are having to look for new and innovative ways to stay competitive. That, in part, is why more financial services firms of all sizes, types and business models are investing in automation technology, for the time- and cost-savings they deliver, but also to be able to work more strategically on initiatives that can drive value for customers.

It’s our job to help businesses like yours to relieve revenue recognition and reporting headaches. If you’re looking for ways for your already overburdened staff to save time and energy on developing complex contracts, invoicing and other manual finance processes, let’s talk!

Topics: automation, performance economy, subscription management, covid-19

 

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