Financial Technology

Better payment systems – this type of technology can make a business more accurate and efficient at issuing invoices and collecting payment. Also, the more professional service will help to improve customer relations which can increase the likelihood of them returning as a repeat buyer.

Rate of approval – many small business ventures are starting to use the alternative lenders like those involved in financial technology because it has the potential to increase accessibility and speed up the rate of approval for finance. In many situations the application process and time to receive the capital can be completed within a period of 24 hours.

Greater convenience – the companies involved in financial technology make full use of mobile connectivity. This can significantly increase the number of people who can access this type of service and also increase the efficiency and convenience of transactions. With consumers given the option to use smartphones and tablets to manage their finances, it is possible for a business to streamline its service and provide a better all-round customer experience.

Efficient advice – many of the latest systems rely on robo-advice to give people guidance on their finances. This can be a very quick and low-cost option to get useful information on investments, as well as to limit a person’s exposure to risk. However, this type of service won’t be able to give the most in-depth advice that would come from a professional adviser.

Future of Financial Services

Traditional Wire Transfers

Let us begin by first taking a look at how things have been going on for these past 150 years since wire transfers were first introduced. Transferring funds using a wire transfer method via a bank is not a single step process but a multi-step process. It is like this:

The sender approaches his or her bank and orders the transfer of funds to an account. Unique codes like BIC and IBAN codes are provided to the bank by the sender so that the bank knows exactly where the funds need to be transferred.

The sender’s bank contacts the receiver’s bank by sending a message through a security system, such as Fedwire or SWIFT, signalling it that a transfer needs to be made. The receiver’s bank receives this message, which includes settlement instructions as well, and then asks the sender’s bank to transfer the amount specified in the message.

The sender’s bank now transfers the amount. This is not done in one go but bit by bit, so it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days for the entire sum to be transferred.

To make the transfer, the two banks must have a reciprocal account with one another. If that is not the case, the transfer is made through a correspondent bank that holds such an account.

As one can see, this form of transfer relies overly on a mediator, takes more time than it should, and can prove to be costly as the banks charge some fee for their service. Distributed currencies like Bitcoin provide a viable alternative to this process.

Decentralized Currencies

What sets services like Bitcoin apart from traditional services is that they do not rely on a central mediator but rather operate using cryptographic protocols. The process is therefore faster, simpler, and much more efficient. The system is quite transparent to both end users as well while traditional systems are susceptible to fraud due to the complex process involved.

However, there is a downside to this too. With services like Bitcoin, it is simple to trace a transaction back to each unit value’s creation.

Solution? A Common Ground

More and more people are opting for services like Bitcoin and peer-to-peer mobile transfers, where a network operator could help users transfer funds by simply sending an SMS. Although these are indeed more efficient, they are a long way from global acceptance because there are many who still do not have bank accounts, plus there is the issue of limited user identification in such services.

What would be ideal for everyone is if banks could tap into the potential of decentralized currencies and overlap the source code of services like Ripple on their existing system to form a hybrid of the two. It would kill two birds with one stone as:

Decentralized currency systems provide more efficient transfers

Bank systems ensure only registered users access the service, taking away the possibility of foul play.

Qualify Leads And Prospects

You should invest your money and time only after qualifying someone. Only then you should start selling the service or product to the prospect.

If you are not quite experienced you will jump at the given opportunity without properly studying the prospect. What happens here is you are trying to selling something on an assumption without the proper background check. It may or may not culminate in sales. Only mindless salespeople will do this kind of marketing and they will end up losing their energy and time chasing wrong leads.

Instead of talking all the time, try to listen to your prospect. Then you will understand whether he/she is a qualified prospect. If you listen to them your chances of selling will be much higher.

Spend time on qualified prospects, and you’ll achieve significantly more costly deals.

Even if you get a qualified lead you must put in a lot of effort to make him/her your customer. You must know all about your valuable prospect or else you will miss an opportunity to sell your product or service to them.

If you end up selling a product to a wrong customer or to people who should not have bought your product, it is not just bad for the customer but bad for you and your company.

To find a quality lead you must know how to evaluate a prospect. For instance, you must know what their drawbacks are. How have they evaluated your solution? What type of an organisation they belong to? These details are essential to personalise your pitch for your prospects.

Know their pain points and also about their organization and personality. If a salesman is not able to close a deal it shows that he did not know all the important details about his prospect and hence he did not properly qualify as lead.

Ask as many questions as possible to your customer and gather the correct information. There are certain qualifying questions which every salesman should be aware of. We list out the most important ones.

Customer profile

A prospect should match your ideal customer profile. How big is the company? What industry are they in? Where are they located?

Needs

You must know your customer’s needs to qualify the prospect. And you should know how to fulfil their requirements and requests. You should have an idea what result they are aspiring for, and how the result is going to impact their company or team.

Decision making process

You should also know how they make decisions and how many people are involved in the decision-making process. Are they impulsive buyers or do they take time to buy products?

For instance, some companies take almost a year to purchase products. But if you have a sales target to achieve in the next four months then they are not your qualified prospects.

Handle Finances With Care

Financial advisors suggest all individuals follow these six basic key principles for financial planning.

• Analyse your current financial status: To be able to plan for future you should first be very confident about your current financial position. Make a checklist of all the assets and liabilities and your income and expenditure. Having this information at hand, you would be in a clear position to understand how you can achieve your financial goals. Your total financial worth would help you to determine the ways to accomplish your set goals, which include paying for your children’s education, buying a new property or being ready for any financial emergency like the loss of a job.

• Chalk out your financial goals: In order to accumulate wealth, a lot of planning has to be done in order to achieve the desired goals. Setting goals would give you an urge to go ahead to achieve it. Your list of financial goals should be very specific, which would show that they are crystal clear in your mind.

• Plan for alternatives: You cannot expect your planning to go as per your wish, so you should always have a plan B at hand. After listing down your goals you plan for alternatives as well.

• Analyse the alternative options: You should ponder upon the feasibility of the alternative ways taking into account your social, personal and economic condition at present. The liquidity of your assets also matters in this regard.

• Creation and execution of your financial plan of action: Once you have planned about your alternative options and have analysed its feasibility, it is time for you to put these plans into action.

• Review your plan: Since financial planning is very dynamic process it is subject to change at any moment. So, it is always advisable to keep reviewing your plans every now and then.

Behavioural Economics

It is sometimes forgotten in economics that the field is meant to be about the behaviour of people when making financial decisions.

The traditional economist’s view is that the world is populated by unemotional, logical, decision makers, who always think rationally in drawing their conclusions. This view is underpinned by the understanding that human behaviour displays three key traits: unbounded rationality, unbounded willpower, and unbounded selfishness.

This has always flown in the face of the findings of cognitive and social psychologists, who questioned these assumptions as far back as the 1950s.

With the rise of behavioural neuroscience since the 1980s (especially Kahneman’s work) providing more insight into the workings of the brain, we are now more sure than ever about the role that emotion and bias plays in all decision-making: from simple day-to-day decisions like which dress to wear, through to larger decisions that may affect many people.

Overconfidence and optimism are two examples of behavioural traits that may lead to sub-optimal financial decision-making, and divert from the traditional model used. People have also been shown to make poor decisions, even when they know it’s not for the best, due to a lack of self-control.

So this is where behavioural economics has been able to step in and modify many of the beliefs of the traditional economic views.

Behavioral economics and behavioral finance study the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on economic decisions.

This may apply to individuals or institutions, and involves looking at the consequences for market prices, dividends, and resource allocation.

Of the three traits of human behaviour included in the traditional model outlined above, unbounded rationality has received special focus, with new understandings in the field resulting from neuroscience.

Understanding better how people arrive at financial decisions can help in many areas: from personal finance to organisations shaping products and trying to get more customer sign-ups; and from the vagaries of stock market trading through to governments and how they formulate financial legislation.