2021 AFP Risk Survey: An Increasing Emphasis on Technology to Provide Resiliency and Manage Risk

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17 September 2021
Patricia Hines, CTP

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), supported by Marsh McLennan (Celent’s parent company), recently published its 10th 2021 AFP Risk Survey Report. The 10th in the series, this year’s edition found an increasing emphasis on technology, alongside people, in providing treasury teams and their organizations with the resiliency to effectively manage risk.

The pandemic heightened the need for the necessary technology, tools, and analytics to forecast risks and to safeguard against the impact of COVID-19 constraints. Those organizations that had not enhanced their risk management technology to the extent required realized the need to shift their emphasis to investing in technology.

The report discusses key learnings from the crisis and identifies essential areas to withstand the next crisis. Top risk management learnings include:

·Treasury teams will focus on managing cash flow, working capital, and liquidity (79%) to withstand future risks.

·Building data and appropriate tools (cited by 83%) and investing in technology to improve communication/collaboration with internal stakeholders (79%) is vital.

·Managing people effectively is key to withstanding future crises (84%), including equipping teams with the right technology and skills to adapt to shifting demands.

Investing in technology is front and center in the important focus areas cited, particularly to improve technology and build data along with appropriate tools.

Important areas to focus on to withstand next crisis

The report concludes with recommendations for whatever comes next. Financial professionals need to learn from their shortcomings and try to prevent and mitigate the severity of any impact. It is critical that they be equipped with the tools that allow them to forecast risk accurately. This is a key takeaway for business leaders: two-thirds of respondents indicate their organizations are placing a greater emphasis on risk management technology, and a vast majority agrees that digital tools and data analytics are important in an organization’s ability to accurately forecast risk and finance metrics.

A majority of practitioners is not fully confident that they are equipped with the necessary analytical tools and methodologies that allow them to forecast current and future risks. Consequently, investing in technology will enhance the confidence of employees as they manage risk. Those managing risk believe their organizations should focus on gaining a complete perspective of risks and improving the timeliness and delivery of risk information and metrics.

Beyond technology, business leaders have realized that managing their people effectively is crucial. In the urgency of keeping operations running and minimizing interruptions, employees at organizations have faced the brunt of the consequences. Executive management is fully aware of this and realize that to have a smoother outcome in a future crisis will involve managing people effectively.

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Corporate Banking
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