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posted: 5/16/2019 1:00 AM

Technology disruptions spark collaboration between accounting and banking professionals

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It seems like every day we hear about the advancement and progress of new technologies. From the current adoption of cloud-computing and data storage in the workplace to the approaching implementation of new 5G phones and faster wireless networks, it's fair to assume that technology will continue to grow and be implemented at its current exponential pace for the foreseeable future.

In the finance industry, this means the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), smart machines (virtual customer assistants and virtual personal assistants), robotic process automation (RPA), and API platforms. With the adoption of these new technologies, financial organizations will see a dramatic disruption of how they conduct business and also potentially cause a seismic shift of how the entire industry operates.

On the client side of things, these new technologies will be very positive. By and large, these technological advances are intended to improve the user experience, bolster personal financial data security, and provide additional services and products to choose from. On the flipside, these new technologies will most likely cause an initial disruption of the status quo of the financial sector. In time, though, it should provide new sources of revenue for banks, accounting firms, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Early adopters of these groundbreaking technologies will be able to bolster and supplement their current services and products while at the same time increasing efficiencies and streamlining their processes. One way services can be expanded is via the use of an API platform.

By providing third-party companies access to their vast databases, banks are able to offer different functionality and services to their clients that wouldn't be available without an API to make the connection between their two tech platforms. This type of synergy provides a way for the third-party company to take advantage of the bank's sizeable database to amplify the services already being offered. Banks and their partners will be able to customize a clients' experience and tailor their services according to the user's preferences rather than opting for a one-size-fits-all approach.

While growing pains are sure to be an issue during the implementation process, the benefits of offering automated and responsive services far outweigh the "safe" course of action of sticking to tried-and-true legacy services. Financial institutions should be prepared to supplement their current services and products with these new technologies, especially as the adoption and implementation costs decrease. As a tech-savvy and forward thinking accounting firm, Porte Brown LLC works closely with banking professionals to ensure that our mutual clients are benefiting from these exciting new technologies. Our CPAs meet regularly with bankers and other financial organizations at weekly banker breakfasts and after-hour events to discuss and identify potential services and tech solutions that can help our clients grow and create sustained success.

One of the biggest challenges that firms face today involves the use of "big data" to identify trends and patterns and ultimately provide analysis of the data in a way that is meaningful to the end user. For years we have heard about the use of "big data" being a game-changer in the workplace, but until recently, there has been no easy way to use the data because of technical limitations and the inability to organize the mass quantities of data. To make matters worse, siloed data stemming from legacy software programs have created barriers that make it both cost prohibitive and extremely time-consuming to examine information between different programs. Currently, this is a slow process and typically requires the data to be exported, reconfigured, and then imported into another database. With AI and API platforms, though, this process is automated to detect and highlight data trends, work across multiple software platforms, reduce errors, and provide a more proactive use of the data that's available.

• Bruce Jones is managing partner of Porte Brown in Elk Grove Village.