We are a services based economy. Services account for 70 % of British output and, more relevantly, 40% of its exports.

International exports are worth £29bn to the Scottish economy alone. Growing beyond our borders is a priority.

The relationship between technology and international trade is vital in the future for exporting. It is making trade for individual businesses safer and more efficient and underpinning innovation.

It is also tackling the wider issues around money laundering and fraud which threaten risks to exporters.

With the world’s largest international banking and financial services organisations on our doorstep, enabling small and medium sized enterprises or SMEs to grow globally and to export around the world, comes a responsibility to tackle financial crime, reduce risks and make global trade an easier path to tread by tackling the challenges in technology.

It is a sad fact that today not just businesses but individuals too are more susceptible to financial crime.

The Banks are aware that it is incumbent upon them to develop world leading technologies to make international business safer, easier and more efficient whilst continuing to tackle financial crime.

 The use of online banking now means companies use a wide array of digital platforms to conduct business, this is great for bringing international trade closer to home.  It does mean, however the larger digital presence a company has the more risk there is for exposure.

There are other risks in trading globally for companies. Understanding the country and landscape in which you are trading in for one.

Due diligence is a must if you are to ensure your business is cooperating with any imposed sanctions or embargoes for example. The more knowledge companies have the less likely their exposure to potential fraud. Increased vigilance minimises risk of inadvertent involvement in illegal activity, helping to optimise and avoid unexpected business costs and disruption.

Banks and financial services are rising to the challenge and spending heavily on using and developing technology. They are investing in financial and technical expertise, using high level data science and training teams, with high level skills in advancing technologies, purely to fight financial crime and fraud. The expertise of front line staff and the impact of technology has had an impact on the ability to detect crime. Already one if not the most heavily regulated industries, compliance regulations are also becoming increasingly sophisticated and the banks’ in ensuring their compliance’ are safeguarding businesses and individuals in a safer environment than ever before.

However, we must remember the opportunity to export outweighs any perceived threats.

One way is to make some of the complex processes involved in exporting easier. Particularly pertinent is the digitising of paper-based processes through innovative technologies. When businesses have an import or export focus, the level of paperwork involved can be enormous and complex – often becoming a drain on company resources.

Another fast-emerging technology is Blockchain which is becoming increasingly synonymous with financial technology

Blockchain records transactions in blocks and then forms chains of permanent data. It is the technology behind cryptocurrency bitcoin and is set to revolutionise the financial industry.

The immutable nature of blockchain helps ensure banking is more secure and transparent and can be applied to a range of financial services.