“Solutions of the future will use more of AI, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, cloud computing to automate and streamline Accounting Operations, predict results and provide quick turnarounds,” says Anurag Singh, Managing Director, India, Clearwater Analytics in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What are the challenges today’s enterprises are facing while streamlining their investment accounting operations?
Anurag Singh: Starting in 2007-2008, when the global financial crisis hit us, the global investment community has been subject to several major trends. These include:
- increased regulatory pressure along with highly punitive regulatory enforcement,
- as yields from traditional asset classes fell dramatically there is a movement towards level 2 and level 3 assets some of them requiring model-based pricing,
- need for enhanced risk management with opaque instruments in remote corners of the world that threaten institutional stability,
- the expectation of on-demand instant information availability vs. daily or weekly, and
- Back-office teams have shrunk as enterprises do more with fewer resources.
Today enterprises spend an inordinate amount of time and resources sourcing, reconciling, and aggregating investment data, much of it manually. A single entity can have investments in many countries, deal with several asset classes, have assets in multiple currencies, operate in various regulatory regimes, and have hundreds of tax lots.
A partial view of one asset class or one reporting regime is grossly ineffective; the business requires a comprehensive, global view of the portfolio.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises effectively facilitate the integration of investment accounting, analytics, and reporting?
Anurag Singh: Companies reacted to the need for a global view of the portfolio, by buying different pieces of on-prem software for each asset class, each country, and each reporting regime. They then built proprietary data warehouses for risk, reg reporting, compliance, and performance. But using these multiple disparate systems and an army of people to fix the breaks leads to an incredibly slow, expensive and inflexible solution with inconsistent quality.
A comprehensive SaaS platform on the other hand can bring transparency to the opaque world of investment accounting and analytics. The single instance, the multi-tenant business model of the SaaS platform allows companies to radically simplify their current solution delivering true multi-asset, multi-currency, multi bases, multi-jurisdiction accounting. Common securities are validated across multiple clients but only processed once for all clients, data connectivity is reused, security modeling is reused, enabling a level of data accuracy that is unrivaled in the market.
In a web-based SaaS platform, people can also drive daily innovation, allowing the addition of new features and evolution with industry requirements and regulations rapidly – developed once and immediately available to all clients. And the SaaS solution need not limit itself to technology, but can also solve the last-mile breaks and challenges helping companies to operate more efficient investment accounting operations.
ET Bureau: How can enterprises protect confidential financial information in today’s times of increasing and evolving cybersecurity risks?
Anurag Singh: Early in 2020, the enterprise landscape witnessed one of the deadliest “Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)” attacks in the history of the internet, fortunately, mitigated early by the targeted cloud provider. As organizations saw accelerated growth in digitization, threats around data leakage and misuse have also risen dramatically.
Whether it is data at rest or data in transit, access to it needs to be made as secure as possible.
The topmost priority of organizations is to detect security vulnerabilities much before anyone else does. And once detected do they follow up with an immediate and possibly automated remediation? This requires a huge focus on AI-based vulnerability detection and quick mitigation to avoid any intentional or accidental data breaches.
Governments and corporations have robust mechanisms of firewalls, malware/spyware protection solutions, anti-spam and anti-phishing software, various IT security, data access and governance policies, and the required employee training in place.
Further strengthening of cybersecurity requires additional approaches like human-centric cybersecurity, user and entity behavior analytics, real-time activity monitoring, multi-factor authentication, enhancing data and email security on access by BYOD devices like mobiles and tablets. Organizations must keep evolving at a pace faster than the evolution of the capabilities of cyber vandals, cyber terrorists, cyber fraudsters and hacktivists.
ET Bureau: What dynamic changes do you expect to see in the IT & Fintech industry in the post-pandemic world?
Anurag Singh: The pandemic has highlighted the power of digital technology and SaaS solutions. Technology has become the lifeline of governments, businesses, societies, and individuals. Work from home is no longer a restriction. eCommerce and digital payments are the new normal.
Solutions of the future will use more of AI, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, cloud computing to automate and streamline accounting operations, predict results and provide quick turnarounds.
The finance industry is fairly tech-savvy already, but I think it will climb many steps. Digital payments will flourish, undifferentiated functional areas will move to SaaS platforms providing speed and accuracy at lower costs, banks will go teller-less, and on-prem tech solutions will become rare. And all this will help the world to figure out a way not to shut down whether there is a pandemic or not.
Anurag Singh joined Clearwater Analytics in mid-2019 to establish the development and operations center for Clearwater Analytics in India. As Managing Director, Mr. Singh is responsible for the day-to-day management and performance of the India center, which includes incubating and growing the teams. He collaborates closely with Clearwater Analytics global leadership to enable the India center to participate in the research, development, and operations of the Clearwater SaaS platform.