Financial Services Executives Not Ready to Part with Paper Processes


Financial services companies remain cautious about digitising their business processes, with executives stating that many of their core processes will still be largely paper based in 2018.

Xerox’s “Digitisation at Work” report, which gathered feedback from 200 IT decision-makers in large financial organisations across North America and Western Europe, found that despite the fact that 45% of executives believe paper based processes present a security risk, the digital shift does not appear to be an imminent reality.

The report reveals that 56% of financial businesses still predominantly do their business by paper, with over half (57%) still invoicing customers in this way. Nearly one in five (17%) have not started to digitise any key business areas, including product development, invoicing, customer engagement, HR onboarding and contract development.

This is despite the fact that 43% of financial services executives believe moving to digital workflows will cut costs and 42% feel it will increase productivity.

Missing initial steps

Xerox’s report finds that even the initial steps toward digitisation have not yet been taken by many financial organisations. In particular, the lack of data analysis presents a major barrier to automation and digital workflows.

The report finds:

  • 44% of financial businesses have not yet implemented solutions for the mobile workforce
  • 52% have not yet added or improved cloud services
  • 50% have not yet incorporated or improved predictive analysis through big data

“You can’t just jump into digitising processes without a plan, you need to assess your organisation’s processes and then take some basic steps first,” said Andy Jones, vice president, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations at Xerox.

The evolution of automation

Despite its current reliance on paper, the finance industry does appear to have a focus on process automation. Over 78 % of financial respondents believe they have identified key business functions that would benefit from automation, including accounting (42%), customer relationships (38%) and accounts payable (43%).

“Once again it comes down to the data,” said Jones. “As automation efforts scale across financial firms, it will be important to spot performance trends quickly and validate data for accuracy. Digital business models allow organisations to gain a much clearer view of business processes so they can understand what departments or processes would benefit from digital transformation.”

Xerox has introduced workflow automation services as part of its managed print services offering to lead the way to greater productivity and digital transformation. The company is also developing automation tools throughout its portfolio to support its full line of business – including customer care centres, finance and accounting processes and the healthcare sector.