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Real-Time Economy

Paving the Way for Opportunities of Structured Data and Big Data – Harnessing the Benefits of Electronic Financial Processes

The diffusion of innovative technologies in financial processes open new avenues for research and education. Tools such as e-invoicing, e-procurement, e-government, e-reporting, e-tax, and e-payment applications enable companies to move to using structured data instead of unstructured data, thus paving the way for big data opportunities. Cloud computing, on the other hand, provide totally new ways of organizing these processes by enabling radical changes in the delivery channels employed.

The Real-Time Economy program does research on these new technologies that enable more real-time processes and services. The research conducted through the Real-Time Economy Competence Center aims to improve the understanding of the possibilities and challenges related to electronic financial processes.

The aim of the Real-Time Economy program is to support a wide range of participating organizations in their efforts on pan-European concept harmonization, legislation, global standardization, and standard implementation and promotion of services related to the digitalization of b-to-b transactions and a variety of business documents. Ultimately, these standardization attempts pave the way for the participants to strengthen their position as globally leading service providers in the field of digitalized transaction documents.

Setting the Scene: Real-Time Economy Program

The Real-Time Economy program was originally founded in collaboration with two Finnish organizations in 2007: Aalto University School of Business and Tieto Corporation. Today, the Real-Time Economy program has grown into a nation-wide development initiative and, in total, there are well over 50 organizations participating to the projects in the Real-Time Economy program.

Over the years the program has progressed through five steps. The first step, Full SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) (20.10.2006-31.3.2008) focused on e-payments and e-invoicing, which are seen as platforms on which several value-added services can be built. The second step in the program was Full Value Chain (1.1.-31.12.2008) which broadened the focus to other transaction documents than payments and invoices. The third project was Fully Integrated Accounting 1 (FIA1) (1.1.2009-30.6.2010) which was based on the established e-invoicing platform and focused on e-accounting, e-archiving, and e-auditing. The fourth project – Fully Integrated Accounting 2 (FIA2) (1.8.2010-31.12.2011) – continued the stream of successful development projects and focused on e-reporting and automated accounting. The fifth step in the program (1.1.2012-31.12.2013) was named SME50, referring to the objective to cut administrative burden on SMEs by 50%. In SME50, there are four projects tackling internal and external processes in financial administration, risk mitigation issues through e-services, and sustainability reporting. After SME50, a new program “Financial Interoperability Backbone” (1.1.2014-31.12.2015) continues the development work of Real-Time Economy Program in the field of financial data driven decision making and business analytics.

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