ASEAN Accountants Urged to Take on Multi-Disciplinary Roles to Stay Ahead of the Game

As ASEAN embraces the concept of an integrated "smart region" with the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of last year, the rapid growth of mobile, analytics and cloud technologies will bring about a greater interconnectedness among accountants in ASEAN.

This will see the need for accounting and finance professionals to adopt new skillsets in order to work seamlessly across borders.

In her keynote address during the inaugural ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) ASEAN Annual Conference held at the Suntec Singapore, Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance, noted that: "Amidst a wave of disruptive technological innovations expected to transform the accounting sector, larger firms may have the resources to make decisive moves to prepare for the future, but smaller firms may be grappling with resource challenges and are unable to do so."

Her advice to firms, regardless of size, is, "Take small steps, and be open to embracing new technologies and acquiring new skillsets. Membership bodies like ACCA provide such resources and platforms -- members can leverage them and move forward together."

Skills mobility was highlighted by Guntur Sugiyarto, Senior Economist, Asian Development Bank, as critical to strengthening labour market efficiency and true regional cooperation and integration in order to make ASEAN attractive to investors and potential employees.

Presenting top insights from a newly commissioned study by ACCA titled "Professional Accountants -- The Future," Faye Chua, Head of Future Research, ACCA, highlighted key drivers of change that would affect ASEAN and seven quotients needed to tackle these changes.

"Beyond achieving volume, value creation has to be prioritised. While technical and ethical quotients, digital skills and intelligence are given, professional accountants will need to pay extra attention to creativity, emotional intelligence, domain experience and visionary skills."

"Ultimately, professional accountants will need to speak the language of business in the decade ahead. A local and international knowledge of emerging trends in business, technology and society, and the ability to harness synergies to forge multi-disciplinary practices will reign supreme," says Brian McEnery, Deputy President, ACCA.

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