A new report, What’s Now and Next for Finance and Procurement? by
The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Basware, has been
released today. Conducted in February and March 2019, the report is
based on the survey responses of more than 400 procurement and finance
professionals in the U.S., UK, Germany and France. The report examines
which emerging dimensions of three broad trends—shifting trade dynamics,
automation and digitization—finance and procurement executives expect
will affect their companies most; what their impact will be; and how
they have prepared.
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Global trade trends, their impact and how companies have responded. (Graphic: Business Wire)
A key trend that surfaced was the concern of diminished company
performance due to current global trade dynamics, namely due to
increased procurement costs and greater supply-chain complexity.
Geopolitical Issues are Expected to Have Greatest Impact
When it comes to expectations regarding future trade trends, the two
most widely expected to have the greatest impact within the next two
years are post-Brexit trade negotiations (23%) and the escalation of the
US-China trade war (21%). One respondent even expressed his fear of the
lack of free markets in 10 years, seeing these trends as undercutting
the progress made to date for globalization. Another source of concern
is national barriers to digital trade, including censorship,
localization measures and privacy regulation, which was cited by 13% of
Preparation is Driving Improvement in Internal Processes
Respondents expect trade dynamics to have negative effects, most
commonly an increase in procurement costs (35%) and greater supply-chain
complexity (29%). In preparation for these emerging dynamics in
international trade, many respondents have focused on ensuring their
internal processes and information gathering is as robust as possible.
The most common preparation that companies have taken to meet the
challenges arising from changes in global trade is to review internal
controls and procedures (39%).
“With trade dynamics in constant flux, it’s encouraging to see that
finance and procurement executives are indeed taking proactive steps to
avoid negative consequences to every extent possible,” states Klaus
Andersen, CTO and interim CEO, Basware. “Forward-thinking companies are
seeking greater transparency in their supply chains,” states Andersen.
“Basware is here to help companies gain visibility and control of their
entire source-to-pay process, which enables companies to navigate trade
complexities and changes,” adds Sami Peltonen, Vice President of
Products and Business Management of North America, Basware.
Optimizing Talent & Automation Trends
The report also highlighted trends in talent and automation:
Digitization will reduce overall costs but also intensify competition
for talent, respondents believe. Just under a third (32%) expect
digitization to bring down costs, the second most commonly expected
impact, but almost as many (31%) agree that recruiting employees with
specialist digital skills will be critical to unlocking digital
transformation in their organizations. Another trend is to train
existing staff to expect and adapt to change.
Procurement and finance executives expect that the automation of
various finance and procurement processes will have the
biggest impact on their organization, more so than AI-driven
decision-making. When asked which automation trends were
likely to have the greatest impact over the next two years, survey
respondents most often selected “automation of payments” at 16%.
Respondents think that higher-order functions such as decision-making
are more immune from automation, for now at least. Only 5% of
respondents selected the automation of supply-chain decision-making as
having the greatest future impact.
The report is available for download here.
Basware offers the largest open business network in the world and is the
global leader in providing networked purchase-to-pay solutions,
e-invoicing and innovative financing services. Our technology empowers
organizations with 100% spend visibility by enabling the capture of all
financial data across procurement, finance, accounts payable and
accounts receivable functions. Basware is a global company doing
business in more than 100 countries and is traded on the Helsinki
More information about Basware is available at www.basware.com.