In a world fraught with geo-political uncertainties, disruptive supply chain dynamics, and shifting economic axes, corporate balance sheets face unprecedented challenges. Fortification is driven through the evolution of finance function of large corporations and the digitization will continue to disrupt the role of the chief financial officer in the fiscal year 2024-25.

Conglomerates with diverse global exposures are increasingly investing in blockchain, intelligent data analytics tools and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive efficiency, cut costs, streamline risk management practices and enhance decision-making processes.

Blockchain will reshape traditional financial processes and financial institutions are increasingly recognising its capabilities. The decentralised nature of blockchain offers a distributed ledger — a peer-to-peer network that eliminates the need for central authorities. Transactions recorded on blockchain will be more transparent, secure and immutable, authenticated through cryptographic means.

Financial institutions have been testing blockchain for smart contracts, streamlining financial transactions by automating execution and improving multi-party consensus.

Decentralisation, however, comes with its set of challenges, and regulatory uncertainty, scalability issues and potential energy consumption concerns will need to be addressed. Nevertheless, the momentum is undeniable. Central banks are exploring central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), major corporations are investing in blockchain solutions and global collaborations are emerging to tackle regulatory hurdles.

India stepped into the blockchain arena with the introduction of eRupee in 2022. RBI is evaluating the idea of tokenizing assets like government bonds and deposits, enabling investors to purchase bonds using eRupee.

As blockchain technology matures and sheds its speculative label, its impact on daily life is expected to intensify. From secure voting systems to tamper-proof medical records, the possibilities extend far beyond finance.

While blockchain technology continues to redefine the traditional financial processes, the synergy between AI and finance promises transformative outcomes, with machine learning algorithms driving significant advancements.

Apart from blockchain, in 2024, we anticipate widespread integration of AI and ML across various financial services.

From personalised robo-advisors providing tailored investment advice to sophisticated algorithms powering efficient risk management, these technologies enhance decision-making processes, customer service and overall operational efficiency.

The writer is Chief Financial Officer, Tata International Ltd