FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column 3 Questions. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Wolfgang Koester, CEO of FiREapps, the leading provider of corporate currency analytics and FX exposure management technologies with solutions for balance sheet, cash flow and income statement.
NAME: Wolfgang Koester
TITLE: Chief Executive Officer
WEB ADDRESS: www.FiREapps.com
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
FiREapps helps organizations reduce the impact of currency to their financial statements and reduce EBITDA and EPS at risk by offering solutions for balance sheet, cash flow and income statement. Our currency analytics solutions enable organizations to better manage their FX exposures, reduce risk, reduce costs and streamline their currency risk management processes. Additionally, we empower the various finance areas reporting to the CFO with better global analytics based on currency sensitive data.
What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?
People are increasingly recognizing the value of data. Business Intelligence (BI) tools are being heavily invested in – from Microsoft’s Power BI to other companies like QlikView and Tableau. The continued commoditization of these tools will make them more available in the marketplace. As such, in the coming five years the importance of having access to complete and accurate data in a timely fashion is going to increase so that corporations can fully leverage the capabilities of these BI tools.
Additionally, I expect to see an increased focus on complete automation of workflows in the FinTech space. Previously, the conservative areas of finance have been hesitant to embrace automation. While sales and marketing are most likely already automated, finance departments’ workflows are still highly manual; this leaves a green field in workflow automation in the finance area. In finance, many people still feel the need to watch every number and believe they can do a better job – in most cases, they utilize spreadsheets as a go-to for their processes. However, there is great risk in using spreadsheets to complete tasks that they weren’t built for. This is becoming increasingly obvious and finance areas struggle with time-consuming and error-prone processes due to the manual approach they have chosen to take. The only way to remedy this is to trust in technology and embrace automation as most other areas of the business already have.
How do you feel consumers and businesses are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?
As with any product, when it is released into the market you have three areas of consumers – the early adopters, the majority and the laggards. The proverbial tipping point is when corporations are still dealing with unexpected or negative results while there are others in the industry that have eliminated those problems.
The early adopters in our area of FinTech were innovative CFOs and treasury departments that truly wanted to improve results. Those innovators set a benchmark for the industry of managing the impact to their financial statements to less than 1 cent earnings per share.
Many consumers have easily adapted to our facet of FinTech, but of course there are some still looking to the early adopters and the early majority to see how their programs do. Foreign exchange is a material problem for most companies of any size, but there are companies out there who – with the adoption of currency analytics solutions – have been able to manage the impacts of FX and reap the benefits of fast ROI brought on by cloud-based technology, something that has not historically been seen with other financial technologies.
Wolfgang Koester is the CEO and co-founder of FiREapps. Koester has more than 30 years of extensive experience in foreign exchange markets and working with numerous global Fortune 1000 companies and government entities.