SALARY GUIDE 2016 ACCOUNTING & FINANCE

| August 9, 2016

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The hiring market is increasingly competitive. To recruit and keep the best talent, more employers say they are willing to negotiate compensation, our research shows. But it’s often difficult to know whether an offer is the right one. For decades, Robert Half has published the annual Salary Guide to help employers remain competitive in their industry and region. In preparing the guide, we tap our deep networks to identify the latest hiring and workplace trends.

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Africa Finance Corporation

Established in 2007, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is a private sector-led investment bank and development finance institution created to help mobilize and channel required capital towards driving Africa’s economic development...

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How Blockchain is Changing the Banking Industry

Article | June 28, 2021

How Blockchain is Changing Banking and Finance Industry We all have basic knowledge about Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology, and many peoples understand its complex structures and its valuable benefits for the future. That's why many peoples believed that it's the future of currency exchange. Apart from Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Etherium, etc., Blockchain has the potential to use the existing technology up to its peak to exchange transaction information and data. With more security and easy to trace back previous transactions benefit, we can say it is the new age of Electronic currency to avoid human errors and frauds. Blockchain technology in Banking Around the many conspiracies and fake theories about Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, many organizations and even countries like Australia, China, Japan, and other developed nations embraced this Blockchain in Banking as a future of seamless exchange of transactions. Apart from that, its decentralized transactions are easy and more secure than we have today. Blockchain could change the current banking technology used by its admins to trace and track the record of every exchange of digital money to lessen the frauds and reduce the time and human efforts. Prominent players of the Bank and Finance Industry like the Bank Of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi Bank, and other renowned players of finance sectors using Blockchain in banking to improve funds transfer between banking institutions globally and maintain every record of their history of transactions effectively. How Blockchain is helpful in Banking Blockchain technology is a decentralized ledger of transaction which enables the bank to keep track of all the transactions publicly and transparently. It provides a direct connection between the sender and receiver of payments. No intermediary and complete control of the transaction exists in between them. Because of this reason, it provides a way for financial services to work more specifically and without errors to make payments securitization more precisely. This makes Bitcoins that uses Blockchain technology a better option of investment. Benefits of Blockchain in Banking As you continue to read this article, you might have an idea about this new age technology's immense benefits in the finance sector. Let's take a look at how it can be more helpful in the upcoming future. Security: The primary concern of 21st century’s banks is their security. No one knows who will hack their systems and scatter with the money of people who trust the financial system. With Blockchain technology, security issues such as suspicious activities are easily tracked. It is hard to decode the encryption of the Blockchain and takes too much time because the data is not stored on one server but across a huge network of computers. These computers constantly check and verify the records and data. This feature allows a noteworthy use for Blockchain in banking. For a hacker, it is hard to breach many servers. Every transaction that gets recorded in a Blockchain ledger undergoes complicated sets of encryption interconnected with the next block, which results in an unaltered series of coded data "blocks," each dependent on a ledger series. That's why it is one of the best cyber-protection against hacks in this internet world. Fast transaction: If you want to transfer money to someone living in another country, you go to the bank and might have to stand in the long queue for your turn. Once you forward your request, it takes 5 to 10 days to credit the amount in the bank of the recipient. Blockchain can easily reduce such a long time-consuming process. It has the potential to complete the transaction within minutes, not in a day. It saves your valuable time, though. Easy to track and transparency: No doubt that it is a highly transparent and traceable system as compared to the traditional finance system. Every record of amount can be easily tracked with a digital recording system. It reduces the need for time-consuming and costly third-party verification tools. Also, it undoubtedly offers visibility into the transaction history within the banks' operations. Reduce fraud: It can reduce hacking, DDOS attacks, and other scams. Blockchain helps banks to identify their user's IDs and confirm their detail with digital Blockchain ID. It automatically reduces future frauds, which is the biggest concern of the banking system. How bank can use Blockchain: With Blockchain in banking, financial institutions would not need to depend on the network of custodial services and regulatory bodies like SWIFT. They can easily settle transactions directly on a public Blockchain. Here are few benefits of using the new-age technology. Verifying Digital Identity: Banks can't process online transactions without the verification of a person. This process can be done via face-to-face verification, logging in with passwords, or sending OTP on registered mobile numbers. Although, after the application of Blockchain technology, this process becomes more seamless and more secure due to its accurate data reading capability. Smart Contracts: It might be possible to automate the process of transaction, which costs time, added complexity, and delays the transactions using smart contracts. It is a contract with terms and agreements between the buyers and sellers' business. This computerized contract permits the trustworthy transaction completely free from any central authority or external enforcement mechanism. The new way to do business is here. Faster lending: Loan processing takes too much of the user’s valuable time. It can be reduced with Blockchain. This use of the technology is called Blockchain lending. Blockchain lending can give direct benefit to customers by reducing the growing costs. It provides lenders with a competitive offer and helps them do the transaction faster and without any security defect. Blockchain-based Smart Contracts ensure that loan seeker and lender agree viable and fair terms regarding proof of funds and payment planning for future installments. Blockchain technology has lots of advantages and revolutionary benefits to finance and banking institutions. Though, still, people are generally unaware of this technology and fear of adapting to it. This might cost us time to unify our currency and have a better future. Frequently Asked Questions: How is Blockchain used in finance? Blockchain technology can improve finance and lending services by lowering counterparty risk and shortening issuance and settlement periods. It enables: authenticated paperwork and KYC/AML data, reducing risk exposures and facilitating real-time financial document verification. What is an example of Blockchain? Bitcoin is a well-known example of Blockchain in operation. This is a type of digital money (commonly called a cryptocurrency). This electronic form of funds may be transmitted safely from user to user without the need for intermediaries. In other words, there is no requirement for a central bank or administration. Bitcoin isn't the only currency that uses Blockchain technology. Where can Blockchain be used? Blockchain uses extend well beyond cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. With its capacity to increase openness and fairness while also reducing businesses' time & expense, the technology influences a wide range of areas, from contract enforcement to making government run more effectively. What software is used for Blockchain? There is multiple software available in the market for Blockchain technology; some of them are: Solidity is one of the most widely utilized programming languages among Blockchain developers. Geth is a Go-based Ethereum node implementation. Mist is the authorized Ethereum wallet created by Ethereum's makers. Is Blockchain the future? Blockchain technology has several uses in a variety of sectors. Blockchain is already being utilized to help with identity management, smart contracts, supply chain analysis, and many other things. The full potential of Blockchain technology is unlikely to be realized. Till then, it is safe to assume that Blockchain is the future of the Fintech industry. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is Blockchain used in finance?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Blockchain technology can improve finance and lending services by lowering counterparty risk and shortening issuance and settlement periods. It enables: authenticated paperwork and KYC/AML data, reducing risk exposures and facilitating real-time financial document verification." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is an example of Blockchain?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Bitcoin is a well-known example of Blockchain in operation. This is a type of digital money (commonly called a cryptocurrency). This electronic form of funds may be transmitted safely from user to user without the need for intermediaries. In other words, there is no requirement for a central bank or administration. Bitcoin isn't the only currency that uses Blockchain technology." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Where can Blockchain be used?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Blockchain uses extend well beyond cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. With its capacity to increase openness and fairness while also reducing businesses' time & expense, the technology influences a wide range of areas, from contract enforcement to making government run more effectively." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What software is used for Blockchain?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "There is multiple software available in the market for Blockchain technology; some of them are: Solidity is one of the most widely utilized programming languages among Blockchain developers. Geth is a Go-based Ethereum node implementation. Mist is the authorized Ethereum wallet created by Ethereum's makers." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is Blockchain the future?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Blockchain technology has several uses in a variety of sectors. Blockchain is already being utilized to help with identity management, smart contracts, supply chain analysis, and many other things. The full potential of Blockchain technology is unlikely to be realized. Till then, it is safe to assume that Blockchain is the future of the Fintech industry." } }] }

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Financial infrastructure: the FinTech way

Article | February 24, 2020

Financial infrastructure plays a critical role in a country’s economic development and stability. It determines how efficiently financial services can be provided. A high-quality infrastructure lends itself, among other benefits, to lower transactional costs and more accurate risk evaluations, improving lending and access to capital.

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DEMYSTIFYING AI IN BANKING: THE CASE FOR A UNIFIED STRATEGY

Article | June 4, 2021

Digital transformation can mean different things to each financial institution (FI). For some, it’s a push to modernise legacy systems and acquire fresh talent. For others, a journey to adopt an organisational strategy that unites departments and teams. No matter the motive, nearly all FIs want the same result—to drive efficiency, revenue and cost savings. For many forward-thinking FIs, artificial intelligence (AI) is a key part of this process. At first, implementing AI can feel like an arbitrary effort that requires too many stakeholders, too much technology, and too big a transformation. Yet, as AI in banking matures, it brings the potential for higher-complexity solutions that generate positive ROI across business segments. A recent financial services study showed that 85 percent of respondents had successfully implemented AI within their organisation. [i]An additional 64 percent plan to use AI across a wide variety of use cases including process automation, risk management, and new revenue generation. These studies prove that AI is not only becoming more mainstream, but is necessary to help FIs achieve their business goals, strengthen customer relationships, and remain competitive. To demystifying AI and reap its benefits, FIs must embrace a multi-functional strategy that sparks innovation and encourages collaboration. The three use cases below show how AI can be implemented to most immediately impact a financial services organisation. Elevating employees, not replacing them AI has historically created fears of job loss and obsolescence. However, within financial services, AI is well equipped to automate manual and repetitive tasks - such as rekeying data - rather than autonomously make critical financial decisions on behalf the organisation. Due to the complexity of the decisions, degree of regulation, and importance of qualitative factors these tasks are – and for the foreseeable future will be – better managed by employees. A key use case of AI for automation is the utilisation of optical character recognition to streamline the process of spreading financials when underwriting commercial loans. Previously, credit analysts would have to invest hours painstakingly transferring borrower financial data into various systems, reducing time for holistic credit analysis and increasing loan underwriting times. However, by employing AI-driven solutions in combination with powerful workflow automation, banks have been able to significantly increase efficiency in lending processes, reducing processing and cycle times by more than 50 percent and seeing a 10 percent increase in front-office capacity to focus on true value-add analysis and customer relationships. [ii] Additionally, AI has the ability to empower bankers, not only by eliminating manual tasks, but also by being able to equip them with powerful insights around relationship profitability and credit risk. By refining sophisticated, machine-learning based models, banks can more accurately predict and leverage metrics such as probability of default and loss given default within risk-based pricing models to provide competitive lending rates to borrowers, while still maintaining healthy profitability at the relationship and portfolio level. Reshaping customer engagement The acceleration of digital banking due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of customer-centric titans have put significant pressure on financial institutions to modernise and reshape their approach to digital banking to appease rising customer expectations. Customers not only expect a frictionless and seamless onboarding process, but for their bank to act as an ever-present financial advisor, offering personalised insights on spending habits, money management and financial decisions. AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots offer new levels of accessibility to common questions by utilising natural language processing to find past transactions, access credit scores, and view balances. However, institutions can take a further step of both anticipating customer needs and offering targeted product suggestions based on propensity scoring models. Proactively offering recommendations can be helpful to customers due to the complexity of different financial products and enables banks to simultaneously satisfy customers while unlocking new revenue opportunities. FIs can leverage AI to operate as a dedicated advisor, offer a differentiated customer experience, and reduce customer churn. However, equally important to the underlying predictive models is having a single, end-to-end platform to drive direct actionability by delivering insights to the right banker at the right time. Boosting back-end efficiency In addition to empowering employees to focus on true value-added activities, AI offers enhanced methods to improve operational efficiency and risk management. Analysis of IDC data shows that AI technologies can improve the cost efficiency of financial institutions by over 25 percent across IT operations[iii]. As a part of fraud detection, institutions can leverage AI to oversee thousands of transactions and efficiently flag anomalies that are indicative of fraud. Historically, transaction monitoring has struggled with false positives, through which genuine transactions are incorrectly flagged. However, through machine learning, actual, fraudulent transactions can be compared to false positives, which can then be fed into the model, improving accuracy over time as the system incorporates learned, differentiating factors. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused institutions to revaluate how they assess credit risk and problem loan management. Lenders have had to segment their portfolio by geography and industry to differentiate sectors which were more severely affected by the pandemic versus those that were less challenged. Additionally, there is now a greater emphasis on utilising real-time and transactional data in addition to other data sources to truly understand business performance and borrower resilience. As the uncertain pandemic recovery continues, leveraging AI-powered predictive models in combination with delinquency tracking, credit migration modelling, and other tools will continue to be critical to align actual portfolio risk with the risk appetite of the institution. As AI adoption continues to mature, FIs should avoid sporadically focusing on isolated use cases. Instead, organisations should strive to align strategy, organisational culture, and digital infrastructure under a united AI strategy. This will help enable them to capitalise on revenue growth, operating efficiency and cost savings, from the front to the back office, and across all lines of business.

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Applied Data Science in Fintech

Article | February 28, 2020

Under the supervision of Dr. Mario Gillrich and Maria Pelli, this course explores how new entrants in banking and finance are leveraging new technologies and methodologies to help traditional banks, their corporate clients and consumers use data and algorithms to better manage their financial operations and processes.

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Spotlight

Africa Finance Corporation

Established in 2007, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is a private sector-led investment bank and development finance institution created to help mobilize and channel required capital towards driving Africa’s economic development...

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