Accountants Preparing for the Digital Worlds expected in the next 5 years
The roles and expectations of accountants and finance leaders in embracing digital technology:
1. Commerce and industry
Accountants and finance leaders must acquire the knowledge to assess and implement technology initiatives that enhance the finance function as a strategic and business partner and bring holistic value to the organisation. Data science and data analytics are critical capabilities for finance functions of the future to manage risk and uncertainty, influence decision-making, and lead and strategise more effectively.
2. Public practice
Technology affects public practice firms of all sizes. Large firms must invest in technologies that are commonly applied to audits today, namely, data analytics, artificial intelligence and cognitive technology, or risk becoming irrelevant. Small and medium practices (SMPs) will be most affected by emerging technologies such as computer assisted audit techniques (CAATs), cloud computing, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. All these will enhance SMPs’ productivity so they can focus on advising clients and helping them strategise.
3. Public sector
The finance function in the government has an indispensable role to play in planning future government programmes and services and assessing the sustainability of government policy, especially in light of demographic trends. It is acknowledged that by strengthening the planning and forecasting capability, the finance function stands to increase its relevance in the decision- making process. As the public sector finance function embraces accrual accounting, it will become akin to a finance function in the private sector with comparable roles and expectations, such as providing analyses and insights to support decision-making and implementing technological transformation projects that drive organisational value. As such, public sector finance leaders will require similar capabilities in smart technologies, data science and data analytics.
Members in academia must be cognisant of technology to produce market-ready talent and ensure that accountancy research and innovation is business-relevant. As educators, members in academia will be required to comply with upcoming and evolving standards on digital technology in accountancy education that seek to impart the relevant Information & Communications Technology (ICT) skills needed by accountancy professionals in Malaysia.
credit to Business and Economic Outlook MIA ACCA 2019 Report, MIA & ACCA