Technological disruption will increase the pressure on accountants to improve their skill sets and networks, said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah yesterday.
Ms Indranee told an accountancy forum that robots can already do some of the work that accountants do. "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," she noted.
She cited Dell Services' robotic process automation, which has robots carrying out specific tasks faster and more accurately than previous automation technology.
"They have the potential to commoditise accountants' skills," she added, urging accountants to build up their multi-disciplinary knowledge to be able to embrace and ride on technological developments.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) president Alexandra Chin noted that at the same time, regionalisation through the formation of the Asean Economic Community, with "simplified rules, lower tariffs, harmonised standards and closer regulatory cooperation across the Asean countries... will intensify demand for the accountant's services".
Acca's network of more than 90,000 students and members in Asean can help "form regional partnerships in these countries to support the development of the profession by facilitating government engagement", she said.
The conference was attended by 400 finance, accounting and business professionals. Panel discussions and breakout sessions covered in-depth skill sets for Asean's accountancy sector.