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Survey: Few Finance Pros Are Fully Prepared for Tech Risk

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 1/23/2018

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Treasury and finance executives have many concerns as they approach the New Year—but preparing for technology risk seemingly is not one of them.

The 2018 AFP Risk Survey, supported by Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Global Risk Center, polled 614 senior-level treasury and finance executives. Though a majority of respondents to the annual survey cite artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and data engineering as technologies that could expose their companies to risk, only 14 percent say they are “significantly prepared” to manage them effectively. More than half (54 percent) say they are only “moderately prepared.”

Cybersecurity risk is among the various risks cited as a consequence of using new technologies. Three quarters of survey respondents report that new cybersecurity risks have emerged at their companies as a result of increased use of new technologies. Operational risk and business continuity risk also are cited as consequences of the introduction of new technologies to the treasury and finance function.

“Treasury and finance executives may not be adequately focused on risks stemming from emerging technologies that could affect the very existence of their organizations,” said AFP President and CEO Jim Kaitz. “Today’s risks center less around traditional finance and more on new technology like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotic processes and malware. To meet these challenges, treasury and finance executives must acquire new skills and knowledge—even a new mindset.”

When asked to list the top three risks that will impact their organizations, nearly two thirds (65 percent) of respondents said their greatest concern was strategic risks such as industry disruption and competition. Cybersecurity risk came in second at 52 percent, and political risks and regulatory uncertainty ranked third at 38 percent.  

“While emerging technologies like AI, blockchain and robotic process automation can offer immense benefits for finance and treasury professionals, they introduce new sources of risk, especially related to increased third-party connectivity and cyber,” said Alex Wittenberg, Executive Director, Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Global Risk Center. “The decision to adopt these new technologies is made more challenging by a lack of consistent, available tools to weigh the value of implementing these technologies against the new associated risks.”

More information about the survey results is available here.

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