Finance executives John McIlwee and Verna Grayce Chao sat down with Variety Intelligence Platform President and Chief Media Analyst Andrew Wallenstein to talk about the digitization of compensation within the entertainment industry at the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit presented by City National Bank on Thursday.

“My office has not mailed a hard check since 2019,” McIlwee said about the changes made to compensation in recent years. “They really like the fact that they don’t have to process these hard checks, which costs them extraordinary amounts of money versus an electronic transaction.”

McIlwee is the founder of McIlwee & Associates, Inc. and Grayce Chao is the executive vice president of City National Bank’s treasury management solutions. The two spoke at length with Wallenstein about the rapidly changing landscape of compensation within the industry due to innovations in payment technologies, which have resulted in more efficient and transparent compensation for talent in entertainment, executives and other industry stakeholders. They discussed new software programs like Exactuals, which work to eliminate paper checks in favor of more direct deposit payments.

“Agencies do have their own processes, but they’re all still striving for the same things: transparency, accuracy, the ability to reduce manual and higher-risk activities,” Grayce Chao said. “There’s technology out there that’s like a runaway train, and we’re all talking about how to harness it, and then there’s the reality of incumbent and entrenched technology and processes.”

Grayce Chao expanded on the advancement of payment technologies and remarked how her company and others are figuring out the right balance of push-and-pull to make the most efficient use of the technology available to them. McIlwee talked about the convenience of recent adaptations to remote work, and how the work he does can be done wherever he is outside of the office.

Check out the full panel above.