Are professionals starting to think of cyber-risks as an unsolvable fact of life in the business world?
Financial and payment professionals don't expect any respite from cyber fraud and cyber attacks in the near future, according to a recent survey conducted by TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank. An overwhelming 91 percent of respondents stated they anticipate that payments fraud will become a bigger threat in the next two to three years, up slightly from last year (89 percent).
TD's survey at the NACHA PAYMENTS 2017 conference in Austin, Texas, collected responses from nearly 400 finance professionals on industry trends and outlook.
These cyber concerns are not without merit, as 64 percent of respondents reported that either their organization or one of their clients was involved in a cybersecurity event in the past year. The most commonly cited incidents were business email compromise (20 percent); account takeover (19 percent); and data breach (15 percent).
"Companies need to be mindful that everyday tools from email to the Internet can pose risk to payment operations, and the criminal toolbox is expanding," said Rick Burke, Head of Corporate Products and Services, TD Bank. "Corporate treasurers need to create layers of control for accounts and payments processing, both within their organization and in conjunction with their banking partners."
The Wait to Automate
Despite the grim outlook on cybersecurity, industry professionals noted that automating payments processing could offer greater defense. When thinking about the advantages of automating payments, 21 percent named fraud control and security as the top benefit. Other benefits include:
- Speed and ability to pay same day – 27 percent
- Efficiency – 25 percent
- Cost savings – 16 percent
- Accuracy – 11 percent
Although corporate treasury professionals believe there is value in automating payments, progress is slow. The percentage of businesses that are paper free has not significantly grown since last year (23 percent in 2016 vs. 21 percent in 2017). Indeed, conference attendees are even less optimistic about their paperless future than they were last year— almost half (48 percent) think it will take three or more years to become paper free, up from 42 percent in 2016.
While most companies are sluggish adopters of paperless transactions, they agree that there are best practices and tools available to speed up payments, lower department costs or leverage receivables. The majority of financial professionals named same-day ACH as the most helpful tool (40 percent), followed by accelerated receivables (27 percent) and automating cash application (14 percent).
TD Bank polled finance professionals at the 2017 NACHA–The Electronic Payments Association® PAYMENTS conference held in Austin, Texas, in April and via the organization's mobile app. A total of 392 responses were collected from industry professionals, including payments system stakeholders from business end-users and financial and technology services organizations.