Friday, December 9, 2022

Personal finance robots gain people’s trust, survey finds

Personal finance robots

Thus far, a cinematic horror-show of wealth-destroying, dysfunctional robots, is not quite a reality – or at least not yet. 

It seems people, or rather banking service consumers, trust personal finance robots more than themselves to manage their money, according to a new study by Oracle and personal finance expert Faroosh Torabi, and host of the “So Money” podcast.

The study of more than 9,000 consumers and business leaders in 14 countries found that while the pandemic has increased financial anxiety and concerns around the world, including personal finance, the perception of who and what we trust to manager our money has changed to now include a greater trust in artificial intelligence (AI), automated systems, and robots.

The survey noted people are rethinking the role and focus of corporate finance teams and personal financial advisors, especially following the ongoing global health crisis, whichhas damaged people’s relationship with money at home and at work.

Torabi highlighted that managing finances is tough at the best of times, and the financial uncertainty of the global pandemic has exacerbated financial challenges at home and at work. 

“Robots are well-positioned to assist – they are great with numbers and don’t have the same emotional connection with money. This doesn’t mean finance professionals are going away or being replaced entirely, but the research suggests they should focus on developing additional soft skills as their role evolves,” she added. 

According to the survey, among business leaders, financial anxiety and stress increased by 186 percent and sadness grew by 116 percent; consumer financial anxiety and stress doubled, and sadness increased by 70 percent.

In parallel, 90 percent of business leaders worry about the impact of COVID-19 on their organization, with the most common concerns centering on a slow economic recovery or recession (51 percent); budget cuts (38 percent); and bankruptcy (27 percent).

These concerns are keeping people up at night, as 41 percent of consumers reported losing sleep due to their personal finances, while 87 percent of consumers are experiencing financial fears, including job loss (39 percent); losing savings (38 percent); and never getting out of debt (26 percent).

Robots lead in financial management

The financial uncertainty dawned by the pandemic has eluded consumers’ trust in how and who their finances are being managed. To help navigate financial complexity, consumers and business leaders increasingly trust technology over people to help.

With that in mind, 67 percent of consumers and business leaders trust a robot more than a human to manage finances, while 73 percent of business leaders trust a robot more than themselves to manage finances; 77 percent trustpersonal finance robots over their own financial teams.

On the security front, 89 percent of business leaders believe that robots can improve their work by detecting fraud (34 percent); creating invoices (25 percent); and conducting cost/benefit analysis (23 percent).

To adapt to the growing influence and role of technology, corporate finance professionals and personal finance advisors alike must embrace change and develop new skills, banking analysts noted.

Thus, 85 percent of business leaders want help from robots for finance tasks, including finance approvals (43 percent); budgeting and forecasting (39 percent); reporting (38 percent); and compliance and risk management (38 percent).

Easier and clearer communication has been at the epitome of financial services, as business leaders want corporate finance professionals to focus on communicating with customers (40 percent); negotiating discounts (37 percent); and approving transactions (31 percent).

Embracing AI

The events of 2020 have changed the way consumers think about money and have increased the need for organizations to rethink how they use AI and other new technologies to manage financial processes.

Businesses have been quick to respond, as 69 percent of business leaders have invested in digital payment capabilities and 64 percent have created new forms of customer engagement or changed their business models in response to COVID-19.

“Financial processes in our personal and professional worlds have become increasingly digital for many years and the events of 2020 have accelerated that trend,” said Juergen Lindner, senior vice president, global marketing, Oracle. 

“Digital is the new normal and technologies such as artificial intelligence and chatbots play a vital role in managing finance,” he added.

Oracle’s research indicates that consumers trust these technologies to accelerate their financial well-being over personal financial advisors and business leaders see this trend reshaping the role of corporate finance professionals.

“Organizations that don’t embrace these changes risk falling behind their peers and competitors; hurting employee productivity, morale and well-being; and struggling to attract the next generation of AI-empowered finance talent,” Lindner stressed. 

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Farnoosh Torabi is the host of the award-winning podcast So Money, and bestselling author of multiple books, including her latest: “When She Makes More.”  She appears frequently on the NBC Today Show and is a columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine, Bloomberg and NextAdvisor, a financial news site powered by Time Magazine.

Oracle, is a longtime early data-base software giant, the company currently offers suites of integrated applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud.