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Financial operations at scale - how to empower finance teams

Vasco Rodrigues
Vasco Rodrigues

In Aurum Solutions' first podcast, Aurum CMO, Vasco Vaz Rodrigues, is joined by Aurum CEO, Tiago Veiga, iGaming Academy's Commercial Director, Rebeka Mizzi, and Head of Accounting at iGaming Group, Miguel Coca.

Listen into them discuss how as symptoms of growth, new licenses, additional markets, and further currencies all make monthly and day-to-day financial operations more challenging. Plus, hear how - with the benefit of lived experience - they recommend overcoming these obstacles which can too often become exasperated by the likes of additional platforms/services that are inevitably adopted as firms grow.

Through their discussion, empower your finance team to streamline their work and contribute even more to the success of your company.

Introduction

Vasco Rodrigues: So I guess this is the first podcast that we are doing. I don't know about you guys, but for me it is.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Please, I do one every day.  

Vasco Rodrigues: Well, I'm glad that we are all on the same page here. So, first of all, thank you so much for coming, and for being on the podcast. My name is Vasco. I am the CMO at Aurum Solutions.

With me today, I have, Rebecca - it feels weird to say Rebecca. So Becky is one of iGaming Academy's first hires six years ago, and has since been a major contributor to the commercial growth across the US, Canada and Europe recently promoted to Commercial Director, she plays an integral part on creating the commercial and strategic plan for the business.

Becky is extremely passionate about business growth and tackles new challenges with enthusiasm, and she now has experience working with hundreds of companies to build the right training solutions, which match their unique business requirements.

Rebeka Mizzi:

I'm not sure who wrote it in the company, but I like it.  

Vasco Rodrigues: Welcome, Becky. On the other side, we have Tiago. Tiago is the CEO at Aurum Solutions. He is responsible for providing the world's leading automated reconciliation software to the iGaming industry. And over the past five years, he has played an instrumental role in revolutionising financial operations and compliance in this sector.

Tiago has pushed the Aurum software worldwide, attracting a global gaming audience and working with some of the industry’s biggest players and most promising startups. He has implemented his fundamental knowledge of financial regulations, operations, and best practices to help streamline finance teams and automate processes, saving them money and hundreds of hours of manual work.

Tiago Veiga: I'm not sure I’m going to be able to live up to those expectations.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Of course we’re not, the bar is really high for both of us. We're just going to be like, hmm interesting point, interesting.

The challenges that finance teams face in scaling companies

Vasco Rodrigues: Well, on this podcast, we are going to discuss finance operations at scale. We know that gambling companies are growing every day and at the pace of this industry, that everything changes and moves and they grow really fast, and that's noticeable and transactions increase, complexity increases, and we are here with them to discuss how can these teams be prepared for those moments. How can the operations be in place, to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that scaling won’t. make the business go backwards.  

So, my first question for you two are based on your experience, what do you say are the challenges that these finance teams can expect when companies start growing and scaling?  

Tiago Veiga: I think from my point of view, the challenges that gaming finance teams are facing can be quite complex. You see, we've been working in this industry for a long time. So many operators we've seen scale - including one of our guests today, Miguel, this is the second time we're working with him – and companies start to grow, CEOs really push for growth. I mean, I'm guilty of that myself. However it might be – new markets, tracking down new clients, revenue, revenue – and sometimes we forget that processes need to be in place, and systems need to be in place to help people out.

At the end of the day, it all ends up in finance. Fnance is like the backbone of a company and it's the thing that we sometimes forget. If you think it through, you start exploring new geographies, and you'll have an increase in volumes of payments massively in different payment methods; you’ll have different geographies, and each geography will have its own regulations, with its own compliance, with their own ways of reporting different profit ... Then, in finance, you have lovely thing called taxes, which you can't escape, and that will be complex as well – different taxes across the world, even within some countries tax laws differ. Imagine in America, each state has its own complex and totally different tax structure. And we just forget to give them the systems to be able to work there.

So I think that's, that's my opinion. The biggest problem that we see, particularly in the gaming industry. High risk brings so much more challenges than normal growth is not like selling Tommy Hilfiger t-shirts over the internet.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Tiago, that was endorsement of Tommy Hilfiger.  

Vasco Rodrigues: For those who doesn't know, Tiago is the biggest fan of Tommy Hilfiger.

I think 90 percent of his wardrobe is Tommy Hilfiger. So here we are.  

Rebeka Mizzi: You almost scared everyone off from entering new markets, Tiago, almost. But I think they can still go ahead.  

I mean, I think Tiago's right. Everything he mentioned are things that companies need to keep in mind when they're scaling up as well.

From my perspective, what we see from iGaming Academy's perspective, we work with a lot of obviously HR teams, compliance as well, beyond finance. And when, with such high turnover, you have issues, with onboarding, training staff, turnover, people leaving, people joining, how can you, or if you're just scaling up change management as well, right?

You see companies hiring hundreds of people in such a short period of time. How do you go from a small company mentality to a big company mentality, from a startup to a fully-fledged business? So, it's interesting to see how different companies manage that. I think a lot are picking up on that and learning to build more of a structure, but it's definitely something that every company will face at some point.  

Vasco Rodrigues: Yeah. Do you think these teams, from the operators are ready for scalability and for high growth?  

Rebeka Mizzi: I don't want to be as negative as Tiago, but I think it's really down to the structure of the company. Some have the backbone in place and are more established. Again, if you're going from a startup, we see so many new companies kind of popping up, in that case you're probably not. Instead you learn as you go. So, I think it does depend, but most companies are not ready for that until they get there and then they're like, “Oh, hang on a sec, like we weren't ready for this”.

Vasco Rodrigues:  What do you think are the consequences of not being ready, for this scalability and hyper growth?

Rebeka Mizzi: Well, if you're entering new markets or you're scaling up that quickly and you're not prepared, you don't have the foundation in place, then, it might go wrong, you might not be able to achieve what you want to achieve, you put a lot of investment into your market, you put a lot of research, but then if you don't have the training, the necessary tools, the knowledge on that market or what you need to do, then, it's not going to go well.

Vasco Rodrigues: It's going to make the company go backwards.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Exactly. We see so many businesses that scale up at such a fast pace, hiring hundreds of people, jumping into, into a new market or going into new venture, and then the common redundancies we're seeing at the moment, companies closing, not being able to sustain the business, letting hundreds of people go that they would have hired in tech as well, especially.

So, I think we can very clearly see the consequences of what's happening or even fines from regulators as well, right? The common fines we’re seeing in new markets and established markets. I'm sure Tiago can mention more from a finance perspective, but this is everything that we see, you know?

Tiago Veiga: I think that growth just comes at a much higher cost as well – the risk becomes much higher. Remember that finance is the backbone of a business then has direct impact on everything else: if you think it through, if the CFO doesn't know how much money they have across the company, they can't really plan for growth.

And then the growth is happening in so many different areas. At the end of the day, you spread out so thin that it's difficult. So, I mean, growth is three very, very important things – people, processes, technology. These three need to be aligned and it's hard to recruit well, but at the same time, it's easy to hire a lot of people, but then you forget if you don't have the right processes in place.

Also, I think one of the key things, is know-how; hire people who've done it before as that is a massive help. It’s one of the things that we've been very careful of at Aurum Solutions – making sure we have people with experience or scale up people using great training companies.

Rebeka Mizzi: Yeah, I do think that, and I'm hearing that. I spoke to or company the other day at SBC – oh, by the way, my voice is like this also because the decision to do it after the conference should not be done again.

Next time we do it before, because, at least I have a bit of a voice now; this morning, I was like, “Oh my goodness”.  

Vasco Rodrigues: It almost looks like it's our first conference. Like we don't know the consequences of the conference.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Yes, so I was speaking with one of the companies yesterday and their Head of Payments and Strategy was saying that it's so tough to find good people with experience in their field from the industry as well. And that's what we see in every position. And like I was talking about the US as well, the US especially, right? Like you have massive corporations who are opening up their betting and gaming arms or something along those lines.

They're hiring all their C levels. I'm sure they're fantastic at what they do, but they don't have any industry experience. That then contributes to more turnover and the company not doing as well, because you have people who are not so knowledgeable in that area. That's how training can really help to at least help you to get up to speed and learn the industry a little bit quicker. So you can apply the knowledge you have for that role of how to build a company, how to grow, how to scale, for the industry. It's so different to any other industry out there, right? So, I think that's something because you mentioned hiring people is easy, but finding the right talent for the right position with the right experience, oh my goodness. The amount of companies I hear saying that it's what they struggle with. I mean, our sister companies is Pentasia. So they work in recruitment as well and they mentioned this as well – it’s the number one struggle that companies have, finding talent with the right level of experience.

Vasco Rodrigues: Yes, which eventually leads to the markets to increase salaries in a stupid way, and that's where you see a lot of even American companies coming to the Europe to recruit people here that have already done it and offering very high salaries to do it. Then everyone wants a piece of that and is offered more and more money.

Rebeka Mizzi: And then that in turn lends towards what we were saying, right? Companies having to let go because they scale up in a way that's not sustainable.  

How can finance teams prepare for growth?

Vasco Rodrigues: Yeah, I agree. So what do you think they can do to be ready? What do you suggest they do in order to prepare for these moments and for these challenges?  

Tiago Veiga: One of the things that we mentioned is that we've just been in a conference and an element of that's key – talking to people. Talking to people who've seen it before, attending interesting panels.

It's a special industry. Online gambling's been legal in the UK for the past 20 years yet in some other countries, we’re talking about 18 months. So there's thre’s people who've been doing it for a long time and they know how to scale. – they've been successful before. And above all, they know the right processes that they need in place, the right technology to have etc. So, I'll say number one thing is try to get that know-how and there's a number of ways to do it.

The second thing is, try to learn from other people's mistakes, rather than learning from your mistakes. That makes a big difference, hence why conferences are a great place to meet people, to talk, to understand things, to share ideas. I  mean, listen to this podcast as well!

Vasco Rodrigues: And having the right tools, basically with the knowledge and making sure that you have what you need to do your job well, and to automate and to streamline your processes along the way.  

Tiago Veiga: Exactly. I mean, we've been doing what we do for a long time.

For like the last six years we’ve expanded, dedicated ourselves to the Gaming industry and companies like Aurum Solutions bring not just technology, we also bring know-how, best practice etc. We've seen it all before and that makes a big difference. Another thing is to not just learn from other people's mistakes but learn from other people's successes as well.

I mean, you mentioned the American market, I think that's a perfect example – a couple of weeks ago, we were all in New York attending a conference and we were speaking on the panel and there were some very interesting C-level people from big gaming groups that have a lot of experience in land-based, gambling. Online, however, is a totally different business, and as such, after that panel, I had some very good conversations with people as I was like, “Tell me more”, “what do you mean by this”, “what do you mean when you say that an online gaming company is sometimes more similar to a bank than it is physical casino in terms of the complexities for the finance department in particular” etc. and what does that all really mean.  Having those conversations makes people understand.  

Vasco Rodrigues: And ultimately, I think operators can focus on what they do well, which is entertaining players and providing them with games and making sure they have a good time and that they stay on their platforms.

That should be their main focus, because ultimately, if they focus on what brings revenue and everything else you dedicate to companies, that's what they focus on, on making it good. You not only you know that you have people that are experts on their fields, but also you are taking advantage of the knowledge that those people acquired from [00:15:00] working with a lot of companies like yours, uh, helping you to make your processes way easier.

Rebeka Mizzi: Yeah, I think we're seeing a shift now for sure. I think a lot of companies – I think both you guys can speak to that and I can speak that for iGaming Academy – are wanting to try to do things internally, maybe to save on costs, maybe because they think they can do it better, but then you end up doing things in a manual way, you end up taking focus like Vasco says away from the core business.  

So, you're taking your focus away from what's actually taking the business forward and spending time doing the mundane tasks that experts – such as yourselves or us, either in reconciliation or training – can help with. And we can really like become an extension to that business and then take them forward and let them focus on what they're should be doing.  

The perspective of an operator on growth

Vasco Rodrigues: Yeah, well, this conversation wouldn't be fair if we were just discussing from our side. So, obviously we need to bring the other side, which is the operator side.

And for that, we have Miguel with us. So, Miguel's financial experience of over 20 years has been spent across various sectors from manufacturing to leisure and tourism. Currently, his efforts are focused on online gaming as Head of Accounting at iGaming Group. With expertise in economic development, plus new technologies and marketing, Miguel brings a holistic approach to the financial activities he oversees, while ensuring fine details are met and relationships sustained. Along with managing large budgets, pressurised teams, and highly sensitive data, Miguel therefore also ensures that finance functions play a significant role in steering business strategies.  

Welcome, Miguel, to the podcast

Miguel Coca: Thank you very much.

Vasco Rodrigues: So from, from your side as an operator, what do you think are the biggest challenges that you face as you grow?

Miguel Coca: Well, you've been talking about several items that I have highlighted when I was thinking about our main pains in finance. So the first one that we are struggling with a lot is with the payment processing. In any site. Just to give you a baseline, we have more than 200 PSPs in our group integrated, and this is to attract, as we said, a large base of players. So, handling payment transactions becomes more challenging every day:

The transactions themselves, reconciling those transactions, putting them up correctly on our accounting system, dealing with multiple payment methods, dealing with different type of reports – you have PSPs that produce pristine reports that you can just put in the accounting system and you have others that you need to work tirelessly to get the information that they are providing to you, and also ensuring secure transactions – we have PSPs that have very robust compliance and accurate systems while you have others are not that robust. All of these are challenges.

So really, the PSPs and the payment processing to us right now is the real challenge when it comes to finance. The reconciliation processes that we are dealing with are getting more complex each day. There are new systems, new platforms, new ways to do the reconciliation. So, for us, automation right now is the only way to achieve a real integration of our payment processing, our PSPs, with our accounting systems.

Then, there is the fact that our company grew a lot in a very short time. So, scalability and reporting is another of the problems that we are facing. Scaling up financial systems, reporting processes, reconciliation processes that analyse etc. all means that our department in finance struggles several times with consolidating the financial information from several different sources.

We have, as I said, very good sources at some point, but we have others that are really, really very bad and we need to consolidate them all to get accurate and and timely reports. Also, our accounting system and all the information that we need to back it up did not grow at the same speed as the operation. So we have operations that are largely developed but the back office systems, meaning finance in this regard, are not developed or were not developed at the same speed. So this is another issue that we are tackling in the company.  

Rebeka Mizzi: So basically everything we just said. We’re all on the same page – that’s great!  

I was like, imagine Miguel see something completely different to what we said. It's like everything I said was rubbish, so it's good.

Miguel Coca: And on top of that, there are two items that I would like also to touch base on. First is taxation and international operations:

So we are a company that operates in multiple jurisdictions, all across the world. It's a 24-7 operation, as you may know. So this, this brings a lot of tax complexities. So you need to be very much in compliance with a lot of different regulators, dealing with different taxing systems. So you need to provide the information really accurately. You need to be top of knock in this

But also dealing with currencies. We have, maybe 20 different currencies, but now there is also Crypto to consider. If the system was complex, when you introduce the crypto, then the system gets even more complicated. So this is another challenge and another issue that we are having as a pain.

And finally – and this is this surprise to me – but when you commented, it is clear and it is the talent acquisition and training. We are really struggling to find and retain skilled finance professionals who are familiar with the gaming, with regulators, with regulated sectors like our industries, such as gaming. Especially for us, our company is based in Malta, and we need to attract talent. Take me for instance, I am based in Madrid, but I go regularly to Malta, as it was the only option for me. I’m not the only one though – we have a lot of people that are coming from abroad, and to retain them and to have them on the company, after finding them is a really challenging situation.  

Tiago Veiga: I think a quick thing back for you Miguel – as you've worked in other industries as well like me – is do you think that in gaming in general, there's actually a real understanding of how important finance is?

I mean, gaming companies are holding client money, and there are safeguarding regulations through the FCA which is so tough on any fintech that pops up. Look at Revolut, they haven't got even got their banking license still, and it's been on for so many years in the UK. So, therefore they understand how important it is, like they are so strict. Do you think that some CEOs of gaming companies, high-level big investors, they understand the importance of finance and accounting, and having the right processes in place and good finance system, good ERPs, automated reconciliation solutions.

Do you think they understand it as well as other industries, like the ones we both worked on?

Miguel Coca: Let me put it that way. My experience is more based in startups or really scaling up companies. So, the first thing that a CEO of that company has on top of his head is operation, operation, operation.

So this is the first thing you need to go outside. You need to get the most number of players, operation, and then goes the rest. So, once the operation is settled, once the operation is established, when you are running a good operation, of course, you need a finance department to support all that operation.

Then it comes; I need information. So you have two ways to get information internally-wise with your platform developing either reporting from the platform or creating, which is my preferred way, a BI system or a BI department that provides you that information. And then the financial information. Then this is when you have the problem that your company has a gap between what is the operation, what is the finance, and you need to close that gap as soon as possible.

So, then they realise, okay, we need good financial systems, good policies, good procedures and everything else. So, I think that now they're realising more and more the importance of the finance departments, but also to have coherent and robust tools that will help to get that information because at the end of the day, what they need is information, information is power, you know. So, they are realising the importance of having a strong finance department.

Tiago Veiga: That's really good. I mean, I had a very cool conversation yesterday with the CEO of a startup gaming company from one of the new regulated markets that came to Malta to, to learn a little bit more.

And it's the second time we met and he said, “I'll have, you know, that because of a meeting we had in Barcelona last year in the conference, I've just hired a finance director because until then I did not know I needed one”. And I was like, well, I'm glad, you know, I'm glad I'm actually helping. But I feel like sometimes I'm this sort of conversion expert, you know, that is a religious thing like “you need to look at finance, please look at finance”. Treat it with the importance it deserves because, you know, at the end of the day, it's the backbone of any company, you know; if your numbers aren't right, then things are not going to go well.  

Can technology help with overcoming the challenges of growth?

Vasco Rodrigues: Okay. So we spoke about technology and about how hard it is to recruit.

My question is do you think technology can play an essential role in trying to prevent a lot of hires, or facilitate the amount of people that a finance team needs?  

Miguel Coca: This is a very good question. I mean, there is always, you know, this contradictory idea that technology will bring you less people and is therefore a cost saving.

In my opinion, a better finance operation is not necessarily defined to have less people in the department, but rather to have an efficient and effective team, first and foremost. I mean, that is why I said talented, skilled people are needed. So when you have that, then you need to balance out what you need in terms of your team and in terms of technology.

So having the right amount of people managing the right tools will give you efficiencies that you're looking for when you are designing or defining the finest team. I am coming from industries and companies where we were using large amounts of people because the process were so manual, you need to spend a lot of time doing them. But we are transitioning towards that other side where automation of processes thanks to tools brings you the opportunity to really shape the teams that you are working with. So, my opinion is that you need to have skilled people to manage the tools at the end, because for me, the automation is just a way to avoid manual processes, but at the end of the day, what I want is people that are analysts that know how to analyse the information that we are providing. Because for me, finance is a business partner in each company. It's the department that will give a light of the numbers to the rest of the entire company – I don't focus only on the CEO but also the CTO or whoever HR, you know.

So, at the end, technology and automation for me play a crucial role, optimising the finance operations. So, if you implement robust finance systems and leverage automation tools and utilise data analytics, you can streamline all these processes to enhance accuracy, to improve efficiency and potentially reduce the need for a large workforce.

Ultimately, our goal is to have a finance operation that is appropriately staffed, as I said, but equipped with modern tools and technologies. In my current company, I think we have skilled people, but the tools are not in the way that we want. So, that is why we're implementing Aurum in these regards, just to optimise our reconciliation but we're also thinking further too.  

Rebeka Mizzi: Yeah, I really agree with that as well. I don't think it's about technology replacing people. I think it's about leveraging the benefits of having both. So empowering people. Like, Miguel, you said you take away the manual tasks so that then gives people the space to then do what they do best and analyse info, to think, “how do we make this work for us?”, “how can we capture that?” etc.  

But in contrast, if you're bogged down with all the manual tasks, then you're just going to be doing that, you're just going to be looking at the data and not reconciling it as it were, rather than actually looking into that and analysing it and saying, “how can we make this work for us”? because then all your time is taken up with that. It's such a heavy manual task. So I think maybe some companies used to be afraid of the unknown let's say of using technology. Like I guess maybe there, there's this notion or preconception that, “Oh my goodness, if I get a technology and then it's going to remove all the jobs” or “we don't know how it works, we don't have that much control”.

But now there were early adopters, we have the success stories like Tiago said. So now we should be seeing more of a shift towards more companies adopting this and embracing it, and learning how to leverage this and make it work for the company. Because at the end of the day, it's going to help them.

Tiago Veiga: I think one little thing I want to say, Miguel, is that one thing I find as more markets get regulated, and speaking to new people is, I think that some of the problem is people not knowing the problem!  

Like, as you said, you've been there before, so you're like, “how do you expect me to run this global operation 24/7?”. Payments coming left, right, and centre; you want to know my accurate cash position as of now. You know, you can’t know that unless you're reconciling day-on-day all the payment methods, you are constantly syncing your finance information to your ERP and able to press a button to get a proper balance sheet, right? And the numbers add up.

I think that, again, going back to what I was saying earlier, it's so different to a traditional gaming environment that people don't really understand the scale of the problem. And it's like when they face it, they're like, “Oh my God, what do I do now?”, and the answer, as you said before, was heavy, manual people. It used to be that people thought, “I need 10 more people because I'm onboarding five new payment methods a month and I'm trying new markets, so I therefore, need more people to solve this problem”. And then when they find companies like Aurum Solutions or automation of other systems as well, not just in the finance department, it's like, “Oh my god, this is totally different”, like it just changes everything dramatically, and I guess that's why I encourage people so much to look for success stories and to try to understand this has been done before.

I'm not going reinvent the wheel, I'm just going to focus on what I good at, and that's, going back to your point earlier, Vasco. What is a gaming company? Their business is entertainment. You know, that is their business, is entertainment. Is watching a game with your friends, and place a bet, or spending a good night out and spinning a roulette. That is the business, and that's what people should be focusing on. They're in the entertainment business, not really in the tech business, you know. And I guess that's what the difference is. Ultimately, don't build your own stuff, focus on what you're doing well, entertain people because as we know, loyalty in players is not super high, so focus on player retention, create a great user experience, create a fantastic payment journey, you know, people need to be able to have a sleek payment process, have a great user experience in gaming, and then, just give the right tools to the right people so that they can help you do it.  

Vasco Rodrigues: So to finalise the questions for you, Miguel, just another one – what do you say are the priorities for your team for the rest of this year?  

Miguel Coca: Well, right now, we are focusing on three main areas. So first thing is budgeting and forecasting. I mean, we are entering the second half of the year, we would like to see the future, and actually it something that surprisingly, when I joined the company was not very well developed for this year. So we have a budget of course, but I think it needs to be rethinked the way it was done and engage all departments in the company. So we need to engage all the areas because at the end of the day, we are a very large company. We have more than 40 different entities, all across the different territories. So we need to understand every single piece of that and put it together. So this is the first one.  

The second one that I have is to enhance our financial reporting and analysis. This is something that I am very keen to develop. Not only from a platform perspective but also from our back-office perspective. I’m working very closely with the developing team in order to have new reports to see what is our actual operation and to provide information, not only to support our accounting activities, but also to support our decision-making process.

And finally. The last one is, as I said, to close the gap. We have a big gap between finance and operations. And “close the gap” means to get a new ERP. For us, we are coming from an accounting system, which all startup entities began with. I will, or with my CEO, CFO, we would like to go another step forward, which is an ERP. An ERP is a finance system, but integrates the whole company. So anyone – HR, operations, anyone in the company should be a stakeholder of the project. And this is what we have in this second half of the year as one of our main, and I think it is the big project that we have from now until the end of the year

Vasco Rodrigues: Okay, that sounds great. Well, Miguel, thank you very much for coming in and giving your perspective from the operator side. It was extremely insightful. And it was good to know that what we were discussing is aligned with your vision as well. So, thank you very much for coming and I guess we'll speak to you soon.

Miguel Coca: Thank you very much for inviting me. Looking forward to see you in the next event.  

What will the future look like for finance teams?

Vasco Rodrigues: Well, to finalise on our sides, I have just one question for the two remaining guests, which is, do you envision anything happening in the future that will change how finance teams operate in these companies?

Tiago Veiga: I'll start with the one thing that Miguel mentioned earlier which was, when you introduce crypto, then everything is going to explode, or make it much more complex. And, I guess with cryptocurrencies, it's a never-ending revolution – it's not going to go as fast as people thought initially, you know, some of the early adopters were like, “Oh, in two years, it's going to be easy money”. Of course, it's not going to be like that, but it is changing, just like, how banks are changing and converging to these emerging banks as well. And instant payments are becoming a thing and open banking changed everything as well. So I guess crypto is going to bring, some challenges.

And on top of that, is obviously what's happening in AI. So we're lucky at Aurum, we're based in Reading where there is also the UK headquarters of Microsoft. So, therefore we have access to good, good internal releases and I see some of the products that they are thinking about launching in terms of AI, may really help some of the struggles that they have, and I think it's going to be, the fact that jobs are going to change just as much as they changed when they started to introduce industry 4.0. 10 years ago and getting robots to do some of the tasks. And again, as Becky was saying before, it doesn't mean that people are going to go away.

People are always going to be necessary, you know? But it's what jobs are people doing, you know. Rather than trying to do the task, it is understanding what is the impact that this is going to make and, “how can I make it better?”. It will become the “why” rather than the “what”.

And I think that's a big shift, you know, it seems quite simple, but I think it's a big shift. So, those for me, are the two biggest challenges because we already see them at Aurum and the companies that work in more technologically advanced markets. We already see crypto deposits in operation, particularly with operators where you'll see crypto deposits increasing etc., which wasn't a thing three years ago when everybody was handling FIAT, and now you even have things like stable coins being on ERP reports, as Miguel was saying, part of the liquidity report, you have stable coins. So things have already changed, and I think it will change more. We'll see.

The thing is for a technology company like Aurum, we are also on top of our game and always pushing for the next thing and trying to help with more automation, thinking how can we develop machine learning, what can we do for others, how can we help finance teams do better, do more with less.  

Rebeka Mizzi: I like that, “do more with less”. Yeah, from me, I’d say less so on AI, but more technology specifically like we were talking about before. I mean, technologies are advancing at a scary rate.

So companies are becoming more on board with this change. I can speak from, from my perspective, from the training, right? First companies were looking for an LMS, just somewhere to put their training on the system. Then they're looking for a single sign-on to integrate with something else. Now they're looking for full API integrations. They're looking for, gamification, looking for all of these things. So people are kind of saying, okay, well now we have this, we want this as well because we think it could make it better. So companies seem to be looking more towards technology and how they can leverage that.

So, I think the trend is going in the right direction for finance and beyond, right? You can speak from the finance perspective as well. You can see companies, were previously debating the need for technology but now they’re like, “we really need this because it's taking us so long to do all this ourselves”.

So, I  think we are catching up to that and I think that that will just keep on being the trend. I think the key is that companies have to have a growth mindset and just be willing to take that next step and willing to, you know, maybe take that leap of faith and see how it's going to work rather than just kind of going back and forth and dropping priority and then going back to it later.

Prioritise these things because in the end they are going to help you get your end result. That's, I think, the direction I see going in.

Vasco Rodrigues: That sounds great. Well, guys, it was very insightful to be sharing with you. I hope on the other side, people also found it insightful. If you're still listening, thank you very much.

It was our first podcast, and I think it went really well. And in terms of finance, if you're a finance professional, make sure you follow iGaming Academy and Aurum Solutions on LinkedIn. We will soon, later this year, be doing an event exclusively for finance and payments people with contents tailored to them and workshops and educational pieces that aim to empower them to do better, to feel more confident, and choose the right tools to support themselves.

So make sure you follow so you can get all the news.

Rebeka Mizzi: The event is called “Data and Payments” by the way. You can look at all our news anyway, it's all interesting but yeah, the actual event is called “Data Payments” or “DIP”, if you're cool.  

Vasco Rodrigues: Yeah, and it's just for finance professionals to learn more from their peers and from the people that provide these courses. So yeah, make sure you tune in and follow our social media for that. Thank you very much and I'll see you soon. Cheers. Bye.

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