Forum: Lessons for us from accounting profession

Experts in the industry say the future of accountants is still bright (Accountants will still count in future: Experts, Feb 3). It must be music to the ears of those in the profession. Accounting professionals will see their job scopes expand, and can no longer be satisfied with just getting by as bean counters.

As finance leaders by virtue of their deep knowledge of accounting and of their companies' businesses, accounting professionals are in a unique and enviable position to leverage technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to be their companies' custodians of value and strategic business partners.

For instance, as more transactions go digital and mobile, the importance of digital forensics will also grow in tandem, which is a niche area that can be filled only by accounting professionals.

Accounting specialists can also be mobilised to apply AI and advanced analytics on vast amounts of internal and external datasets, to generate predictive and valuable insights to help their companies navigate safely through the deep waters of business challenges, and exercise expert judgment.

Accounting professionals can also, through digitalisation, transform their companies into intelligent enterprises - businesses capable of rapidly harnessing data to innovate and transform business processes, and create value propositions across the entire company hierarchy.

Indeed, any job, not just accounting, is at risk of being simplified by technology into a process map that can be automated. But it would be reductive to conclude that technology will eventually make all jobs obsolete. Instead, more accurately re-frame this as an opening to new opportunities in the future of industry.

Woon Wee Min

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