Blockchain In Finance Sales Support: Smart Contracting

Vaag Durgaryan

Blockchain and bitcoin have been in news headlines since the end of last year. However, few people know about their potential implication on finance sales support, and more specifically, on contracts.

Run smarter, not harder

According to blockgeeks.com, smart contract technology can be compared to a vending machine. Typically, you would visit a lawyer or a notary, pay them, and wait for your document. With smart contracts, you simply drop a cryptocurrency into the vending machine, along with your driver’s license or other documents. Here’s how it works:

  • A contract between two parties is coded into blockchain. The coded contract includes information on terms, conditions, and triggering event.
  • As soon as the event happens, the contract automatically executes according to the coded terms and conditions.

Application in finance sales support

Contracting is one of the main activities in finance sales support. Suppose a seller sells a product to a buyer. This can be done through the blockchain by paying in cryptocurrency. The buyer would get a proof of purchase, which is held in the coded contract in blockchain; the seller would deliver the product by a specified date. If the product doesn’t come on time, the blockchain releases a refund. If product comes before that specific date, the function holds it, releasing both the fee and product respectively when the date arrives, and the terms and conditions are met.

The blockchain could not only provide a single ledger as a source of trust, but it also smoothes possible issues in communication and approval workflow. For instance, before making a transaction to sell products, a company currently needs to wait for a department to complete all approvals and meet internal or external conditions. In smart contracting, once the contract is coded, it will wait until all conditions of the contract are met and will execute it automatically.

Even more digital

From the perspective of the buyer, the smart contracting process can be supported by chatbots, which are available 24×7 and can consult on the process, terms, and conditions. Total digitalization and automation of non-complex contracting processes enables finance salespeople on the seller’s side to reinvest in “white-glove” support of very large contracts and deals.

Problems

Blockchain and smart contracting are not perfect. In traditional contracting, a court would review and provide a ruling in case of disagreement. In blockchain, the contract performs, no matter what. Additional concerns include security and technical bugs. While such factors may discourage smart contracting in the short term, we may see those problems fixed in the future as technology adoption increases.

Further reading

For more on this topic, read “Smart Contracts with Blockchain: New Foundation for Binding Legal Agreements” by Peter David, SAP regional CFO.

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Vaag Durgaryan

About Vaag Durgaryan

Vaag Durgaryan is the commercial finance director for SAP in the Middle East and North Africa, which comprises of over 20 countries. Starting in 2017, he oversees a multinational team that provides finance expertise, knowledge, and strategy outlook for finance sales support in the region. Prior to that, Vaag was chief of staff for the CFO for SAP Global Field Finance and co-drove global transformation initiatives with focus on process simplification and people enablement. He holds an Executive MBA degree from ESSEC Business School and Mannheim Business School. Vaag has a passion in digitalization and learning culture.