While all new technologies will be important to their business in the next two years, the majority of CFOs say they are most concerned with mobile payments and mobile capabilities to manage and approve payments (55%), with blockchain a close second (54%), followed by cloud payments (48%) and data mining (46%). Despite the buzz around virtual reality and machine-based learning, these two technologies ranked at the bottom of the list.
When asked which group within the marketplace is most likely to disrupt the payments industry in the next 12 to 24 months, 39% of CFO respondents answered payments processing companies, 32% believe it will be big banks, and only 16% believe it will be FinTech startups.
The findings come from a recent WEX survey of 500 U.S. CFOs, which also found nearly three-quarters of respondents already have an electronic payables initiative underway, while 26% are considering one—with 93% of those respondents indicating that they are working to launch an electronic payables system in the next six to 12 months. Further, more than half of respondents (57%) are currently outsourcing platforms or technology to perform accounts payable functions.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents are extremely confident in their understanding of the function and capabilities of blockchain or distributed ledger technologies, with 35% citing they are somewhat confident. Half of CFOs expect blockchain to change how their account payables operate in the next six to 12 months, and another 44% believe it will allow their business to scale more quickly and internationally.
Nearly two-thirds of CFOs believe it’s very important to their business to be able to transact in international currencies. Notably, companies with annual revenue more than $51 million put extra weight on foreign currency transactions, with more than three-quarters citing this feature as “very important.”
When asked to check all that apply, 71% of respondents cited overall user experience as the most influential criteria for selecting a payments platform, 60% cited speed of reconciliation capabilities, and 60% also selected reporting analytics.
When it comes to identifying attributes of a payments provider, 69% said customer service was very important, followed by 67% citing security and 58% seeking knowledgeable IT support.