Accountancy gathering in Singapore tackles key challenges facing the sector

SINGAPORE - Technological disruption and new impetus for regionalisation with the establishment of the Asean Economic community (AEC) is set to increase the pressure on accountants to improve their skill sets and networks.

This was one key theme at the inaugural  Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) Asean conference in Singapore on Friday (June 17).

The conference, held at Suntec Convention Hall and Centre, attended by expert panellists and business leaders in the sector, addressed issues facing accountants in the future in the corporate, financial and public practice sectors. It is also a networking event for regional accountants to exchange their outlook in the industry.

"The theme for this year's conference - 'Transforming the face of accounting and finance talent'- is timely as the accounting sector faces a wave of disruptive technological innovations which is expected to transform the sector," said Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah at the conference.

She raised the example of Dell Services' Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution announced last year, which has robots carrying out specific tasks faster and more accurately on a piecemeal and flexible basis. 

"They have the potential to commoditise accountants' skills," she said, urging accountants to build up their multi-disciplinary knowledge to be able to embrace and ride on these technological development.''

Demand for accountants is also likely to increase with the establishment of the AEC, said Acca prersident, Datuk Alexandra Chin JP. 

"Acca has more than 90,000 students and members in Asean. We can help to form regional partnerships in these countries to support the development of profession by facilitating government engagement," she said.

In addition to the AEC, more work involving a regional cross-border debt restructuring is also underway. A dedicated working group has also been set up under the Committee in the Future Economy  to develop strategies for the sector, said Ms Indranee.