Smart solutions, innovative business ideas and above all the possibilities of artificial intelligence have occupied finance departments and accounting managers in 2018.
According to our DSP selfcampaign, "artificial intelligence" was the most sought-after term among accounting experts in 2018: 45 percent of all articles read dealt with this topic. The potential of artificial intelligence is obvious: With big data analyses and self-learning algorithms it is possible to analyse and assess the initial situation, the prospects of success and the medium-term development of projects and to provide an appropriate budget framework for the financing of promising projects. In doing so, considerably more complex interdependencies between hard and soft factors can be taken into account – often faster and more far-reaching than can be achieved by human decision-makers alone.
Decisive for the successful application of artificial intelligence is the previous realistic evaluation of influencing factors, which leads to a correspondingly valid and therefore reliable decision model. With the help of this decision model, which can also be self-learning, it is possible to make sufficiently reliable forecasts about the development of projects.
Fintech start-ups are gaining in importance
The search term "financing" is by far in 2nd place. Financing funds have always been the engine of the economy: In recent years, financing projects have been characterised in particular by the fact that more and more computer-aided decisions for or against the financing of projects have been made. The reliability of the systems has increased from year to year. In view of the extremely high sums involved, most entrepreneurs consider it profitable to invest in new digital technologies that support human decision-makers as much as possible.
The terms "Fintech" and "Startup" therefore came only a short way behind in third place among the most sought-after topics of accounting managers. These were particularly interesting for investors in 2018 – in the 4th quarter of 2018 alone, start-ups in the Fintech sector were supported with more than 350 million euros.
Accordingly, financial technology companies have grown rapidly: Germany is now the second largest market for Fintech companies in Europe after Great Britain. The more than 340 FinTechs are looking for innovative market areas outside of banking regulation. The business ideas range from crowdlending and mobile payment to direct banks. The success is based not only on good ideas, but also on easy usability, which is optimally designed for smartphones and tablets. Some of the start-ups work together with established banks, but many are also successful on their own or become noteworthy competitors, such as the direct bank N26 from Berlin, which managed to generate 130 million investors.
Break new ground with blockchain technologies and crowdfunding
The fact that the interest in Bitcoin has slightly decreased, but the technology is not uninteresting for the financial sector, is shown by our 4th place in the ranking of topics of our most read articles: "Blockchain". The blockchain technology is a security technology to reliably execute data streams and transactions of any kind and to secure them against subsequent manipulation. Similar to a trustee system, the blockchain technology is comparatively robust against attacks from outside, as it is based on a distributed register. Manipulations by third parties would attract the attention of all individual points in the blockchain network at an early stage. It is crucial that a so-called "hash" is created after each transaction, in which deviations are immediately noticed and manipulated content can be traced back to the manipulation point.
Crowdfunding was ranked 5th among the most searched terms. The financing of projects, especially start-ups, reached a new peak in 2018 with the help of crowdfunding. Projects that would depend too much on the well-being and pain of individual investors can be put on a safer footing with crowdfunding and thus often implemented much more successfully and effectively.
This results in a win-win situation – for the entrepreneur as well as for the investors: The entrepreneur can count on a broad base of financiers, the investors can cut off a slice of the company's success and – if desired – invest new money in the company with the prospect of further returns. No miracle thus that ever more finance departments consider this financing possibility for suitable projects.