World Trade Organisation (WTO) estimates that “some 80-90% of world trade relies on trade finance”. Despite this, the sector has not undergone the same technological advancements found elsewhere in finance. Currently the processes of documentary scrutiny behind trade finance are heavily reliant on paper-based data and manual intervention by teams of experienced document-checkers. It is a costly and time-consuming process, beset by inefficiencies and repetition.
The current document scrutiny process can take anything from hours, days, or even weeks – delaying operations and payments and creating huge wastage in untapped working capital; by automating much of the groundwork, leaving final approvals and necessary interventions to human oversight.
The good news is that with the recent and ongoing digital developments, specifically with regard to smart Optimal Character Recognition (OCR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), are creating a new environment in which the time taken in the paper examination process can be significantly reduced.
With this in mind, the Digitalisation Working Group, following consultation with ICC National Committees, is finalising an information paper which provides background on recent advances in this field together with an outline of the expected benefits. Additionally, in order to assist organisations in understanding where they are positioned, an automation matrix is included within the paper.
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