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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

JHA executive discusses computer industry

Monday, May 4, 2009

(Photo)
KEVIN WILLIAMS
Computers and how their use influences business today was the topic addressed by Kevin Williams, chief financial officer from Jack Henry and Associates, at the Monett High School Key Issues for Today's Teens program. Williams was one of five presenters at the annual session, made possible by the Monett Kiwanis Club.

Williams, a native of Nevada, Missouri, joined Jack Henry and Associates in 1998 after working as an accountant for BKD Corporation.

He became chief financial officer and treasurer at Jack Henry in 2001.

Technology has changed many things even recently, Williams observed. Distant travel used to be done by car, bus or train and is now commonly done by airplane. Global positioning provides directions today over the use of maps. E-mail, cell phones and I Pods have revolutionized communication and transformed social life.

"One thing we have to be very careful about is protecting our identity. With computer applications, we must be quite cautious about letting our user ID or passwords get into the wrong hands," Williams said.

Identity misuse can have devastating effects on a person's finances. Money can be pulled from a bank account by a person practicing identity theft, leaving no recourse for recovery, Williams warned.

"It is quite common for our credit reputation to be tampered with by irresponsible people. Theft of our identity is of utmost importance for us personally at the present times," Williams said.

In banking, where Jack Henry and Associates applies its expertise, small banks used to be completely run manually by paper or they outsourced processing to large competitor banks. Every transaction was done on paper and had to be recorded that night.

Companies like Jack Henry compressed record keeping resources from a paper mountain to a compact operation, Williams said.

The first computers that were built would fill a bedroom and would do less work than a laptop performs today. One of the first computers used by Jack Henry when it began in 1978 was an IBM System 32, a large machine, Williams said, much different from today's models.

The work of banks has been transformed because of what computers do. Thirty years ago, Williams said, there were basically only two types of mortgages available, typically for 15 or 30 years. Due to technology, banks can now write mortgages in very creative ways for any time span.

Williams said the downside of the new flexibility has been the creation of loans made to fit people, even those who could not afford them. This has had a significant impact on the financial crisis that now exists. Many people invested in things they knew nothing about, placing their money in jeopardy.
Consequently, Williams said there will be no easy solution to the current financial situation. Other changes Williams noted that have occurred on banking include:

* Banking by phone or computer; depositing or paying bills on line;

* Scanning a check at home and e-mail the deposit,

* Paying bills or by cell phone on line.

* Storing check images on computers rather than storing the paper checks.

Beyond these innovations, Williams said computers can increase security. Computers can use fingerprints to identify users. Keeping user ID and passwords secure becomes even more important.

"We would not give away the keys to our other belongings, would we?" Williams asked.

Technology and finance continue to be one of the better places to find a job in the future. Williams said the average salary is significantly higher and the demand in these area is projected to be approximately 37 percent higher than in any other area on average for the next 10 years. The higher earnings potential applies to banking and about every other career, Williams added.



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