Behind the Idea Europe Fintech Trending

Behind the Idea: Engine B

Engine B is a digital technology company specialising in data ingestion and Knowledge Graph-based tools for auditors. Its technology helps auditors to ingest, standardise and analyse client data to inform their decision-making process, leading to better quality audits and greater value add for the end client.

Working together with key industry partners, such as Microsoft, the ICAEW, the world’s leading audit firms, and academic institutions, its collaborative approach to the development of technology aims to increase openness in the marketplace and create ground-breaking intellectual property for professional services.

Shamus Rae, co-founder and CEO of Engine B
Shamus Rae, co-founder and CEO of Engine B

Shamus Rae, Engine B’s Founder and CEO was formerly Head of Innovation, Digital Labour and Cognitive Transformation at KPMG.

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?

Traditional companies (or legacy players as we tend to describe them in our area of B2B fintech) do recognise that fintech will be faster and will enable more innovation than legacy technology. That said, I would describe their position as “active inertia”. They are happy to engage with fintechs but, ultimately, they do not really want to change. Moving to an implementation stage with fintech innovations is the ultimate challenge. This will happen, but is as much about a cultural and mindset change as about harnessing technology. 

How has this changed over the past few years?

The Covid pandemic unlocked more technological possibilities for all organisations as everyone needed to swiftly innovate to operate during lockdowns. One of the most impactful technological developments brought about by the pandemic was the way more organisations moved their workloads to the cloud – something undertaken out of necessity but maintained because of the huge benefits realised. After this shift, it has become more difficult for companies to argue against change. It’s naturally brought down a lot of cultural barriers to technological disruption which is ultimately very positive. 

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

We are a start-up so a culture of change has been in our DNA from day one. Engine B’s stated purpose has been consistent and is all about creating positive change through the smart use of cutting-edge technology. This means that as a company we are comfortable with driving change forwards, both for us internally and for the organisations we work with. 

What fintech ideas have been implemented?

Rather than creating siloed solutions, we have seen inspiring results when we have taken a more collaborative approach. When we work collaboratively, not only do we share resources, but we are able to draw upon a diverse range of perspectives to develop a more sophisticated solution to a shared problem. We have worked with organisations including Microsoft and the ICAEW to create open-sourced industry Common Data Models, expediting our mission to make corporate data more accessible and subsequently, increasing openness in the professional services sector. 

What benefits have these brought?

Through common data standards, better access to data, and the implementation of industry-wide commons data models, we will see increased competition within the sector and enable current and new market entrants to deliver a much-improved quality of service. Collaboration is definitely the way forwards if we are to pave the way for wider adoption of fintech and greater levels of innovation.

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

Regulators are increasingly trying to drive change and this represents both an opportunity and a challenge. Additionally, the regulatory treatment of data is going to be key as the financial services industry is opened up, and competition and innovation within the sector intensifies. 

Most significantly in my view, however, is the challenge associated with ensuring we do not try to go back to “normal” as we recover from the pandemic. The gains we have made, both cultural and technological, during the pandemic must be locked in so we can accelerate innovation. 

Can these challenges be aided by fintech?

One of the best ways to drive change forwards is to open up the market to more competition. A more dynamic market, with a more level playing field on which both established players and new market entrants can compete, is something which fintech can absolutely help to bring about with innovations including Common Data Models.

Simplifying data complexity by providing a shared data language for business and analytical applications is critical, making it possible for data and its meaning to be shared across applications and business processes.

Final thoughts…

There are huge opportunities now for fintech players to realise their ambitions and make a real difference. Simplifying data complexity has levelled the playing field hugely and the benefits of fintech and digital financial services, evident for a while, are now irrefutable as a result of the pandemic. The next 12 months will be game-changing – we can’t wait to be part of this seismic change. 

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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