Almost half of FS professionals 'lack blockchain awareness'

Almost 20 per cent of finance professionals are unaware of the uses of blockchain and 29 per cent have no idea what the technology even is, according to Onguard.

The order-to-cash company’s annual FinTech Barometer, which surveyed 1,000 finance professionals, found that while 29 per cent of finance professionals either already use or are beginning to plan using blockchain, this figure rises to 57 per cent when looking specifically at the chief financial officer (CFO) role.

This indicates that CFOs understand the importance of this technology, but that they aren’t currently sharing this knowledge with less senior employees, suggested Onguard.

When asked how often blockchain is discussed in meetings, over half (52 per cent) of finance professionals admitted that it is never mentioned. However, when CFOs were asked the same question, 45 per cent stated they talk about blockchain at least once a week, and 17 per cent discuss it every day.

In terms of the technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the finance sector, cloud (38 per cent), artificial intelligence (32 per cent) and big data (30 per cent) came top, while blockchain was seen as disruptive by only 10 per cent.

Despite this current lack of awareness, finance professionals seem ready for the arrival of new technologies, including AI as well as blockchain, with 67 per cent either planning deployment or already using them.

As these technologies are implemented, financial services organisations will be required to update their business models. This is a sentiment echoed by more than a third (38 per cent) of finance professionals, who expect financial institutions to be fully transformed into IT companies within 10 years.

While finance professionals were not afraid that their employer will disappear - with 78 per cent confident that their current employer will still exist in a decade - 39 per cent believe that the arrival of blockchain and AI will have a major impact on employment.

Onguard chief executive Marieke Saeij commented: “Whereas in 2018 technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence were mostly discredited and labelled as hype, we can see that organisations have now actually started adopting them.

“While the exact uses of blockchain are not yet defined, the level of activity using this form of technology is only going to increase – with nearly two thirds of CFOs already preparing an initiative related to blockchain, I expect that this is just the beginning of a blockchain revolution.”

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