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 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.
Two-thirds (63%) 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, something that 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“It’s clear from these findings that many companies are still struggling with outdated, error-prone processes in trade finance,” Enno-Burghard Weitzel, SVP of strategy, digitization and business development at Surecomp said.
“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 centralize 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.