ICAEW opens roadshow in Viet Nam

Friday, May 04, 2018 18:50

Participants at the International Thought Leadership Roadshow. — VNS Photo Thu Ngan

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) have chosen Viet Nam as the first destination for its regular quarterly Regional Thought Leadership Roadshow.

ICAEW said that its mission is to contribute to the development of the finance and accounting professions and the economies of Southeast Asian nations.

The “Artificial intelligence and Digital Disruption” workshop, a key component of the International Thought Leadership Roadshow, drew the attention of public agencies, major organisations, and scholars from various universities in Ha Noi and HCM City.

To offer participants as much useful information as possible, this year’s workshop was jointly organised by the ICAEW and IBM, a global leader in artificial intelligence research and development.

Speaking about the accounting profession in the era of artificial intelligence (AI), Kirstin Gillon, technical manager at the IT faculty at ICAEW, said: “AI will profoundly transform the role of the accountant – auditor of the future. AI will help the accountant focus on the real values of this occupation. The role of the accountant and auditor in the AI era is no longer that of just a bookkeeper, but rather that of someone who makes accurate decisions and helps the organisation thrive, and guarantees the accountability of stakeholders.”

Gillon, who is at the forefront of AI research and development in the accounting and auditing profession, and serves the organisation’s associates globally, said: “At ICAEW, we are testing this technology to see how it can help us operate and stay connected with our members and students more effectively, as well as allow ICAEW staff to save time for what really matters.

“While we focus on key technologies, most of these technologies are meant to increase the pace of accounting activities and cut costs rather than fundamentally transform the accounting profession. There are four technologies, however, that may bring disruptive changes to the accounting profession: AI, Blockchain (accounting ledger), Cyber Risk and Data.”

Technology offers an opportunity for the accounting profession to take on a more empowered role in the organisation and help businesses make more informed, data-based judgments, which will be the way forward for the accounting profession, she said.

These technologies can do manually-intensive reporting jobs, while accountants can spend more time on higher value tasks such as data analysis.

To that end, the accountant in the digital age will be like an interface between the sales team and technical team, adding value to the organisation.

With changing roles, accountants also need to be more innovative than in the era of traditional accounting.

“The required skills for the accountant in the digital future should be professional, technical, data, statistics skills, and soft skills such as communication, critical thinking and the ability to adapt to changes and learn new skills,” Gillon said.

Vu Ngoc Hoang, IBM Vietnam’s Software solution architect, in his presentation “Digital workers - What will future jobs look like?”, made interesting projections for the accounting profession in a digital future.

He said 66 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises would swap services offered by accountants with cloud services; 50 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises would replace their human accountants if they failed to adapt to cloud technology; and simpler tasks like manual entry, bookkeeping, annual financial reporting, profit and loss reporting, and payroll and financial analysis would be automated and replaced with software.

These numbers are worth noting by educators, students and learners so that they can adapt in time to rapid changes in digital technology, he said.

With the increase of cybersecurity risks faced by businesses in the digital age, companies are advised to have in place robust solutions to keep their business information safe.

To address this concern effectively, Gillon said that tech experts and business executives should establish close working relationships.

Besides speaking at the two main workshops, Gillon also spoke at the National Economics University, addressing technological trends in doing business, and with CFAB students about “New technologies and potential impact on accounting skills”.

In addition, she also discussed the topic of AI and Big Data with accounting, finance, sales and information technology executives from the Viettel Group, Vietnam’s largest information technology and telecommunications company.

Against a backdrop of Việt Nam actively seeking to capitalise on opportunities thrown up by Technology 4.0 and preparing its economy for take-off, the activities of the ICAEW’s Thought Leadership Roadshow were especially relevant.

ICAEW has reaffirmed its commitment to Vietnam through its contribution to the country’s accounting and auditing industry as it catches up with new global trends.

The International Thought Leadership Roadshow travels next to other Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. — VNS

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