Trade finance Survey Reveals Only 6% of Companies ‘Entirely Happy’ with Current Processes

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Toronto, Canada – Surecomp today announced the results of a recent survey with CFOs and Treasurers focusing on trade finance processes in varying companies across the globe.

The survey found that only 6% of respondents are ‘entirely happy’ with their current trade finance process. Almost four out of ten are unhappy with their existing arrangements, noting that their current processes – many of which still involve spreadsheets – are error-prone (57%), time-consuming (41%) or too complicated (15%). Other challenges include a reliance on paper (10%) and the inability to use multi-banking options (10%).

Two thirds of respondents said that they currently communicate with their trade finance banks, financiers and trade counterparts by email, while 15% are using fax, and 14% communicate by post. With so much bank communication involving at least some manual processing, roughly half of the respondents (49%) cite using no digital channel at all. While one quarter (27%) considers spreadsheets and email as digital, another quarter (24%) uses bank portals or similar.

The survey also included findings about the time taken to secure finance. Sixty-three percent of respondents said it takes them at least three days to secure finance, while 7% said it takes two weeks or longer. Only 11% of respondents said they were able to secure finance in less than one day which is a clear sign of systemic inefficiency. this will directly benefit the liquidity situation of corporates.

“It’s clear from these findings that many companies are still struggling with outdated, error-prone processes in trade finance,” states Enno-Burghard Weitzel, Surecomp’s SVP of Strategy, Digitisation and Business Development. “With so many still using time-consuming, manual tools, companies have much to gain with respect to improving their liquidity, reducing operational risk and increasing efficiency by adopting a single, digital hub that enables them to centralise communication with the necessary parties and access the information they need.”

About the research

The survey was conducted via LinkedIn in April 2022 and included responses from 121 respondents from companies of varying size and type including retailers, manufacturers and energy firms. The volume of trade finance instruments being processed on a monthly basis ranged from 5 to 500 and the majority of companies surveyed were not using a fully automated solution for optimal efficiency.