As technology continues to develop and shape the way in which we work, it is important that we embrace the changes to ensure our profession remains relevant and provides continuous value to our clients.
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The South China Morning Post this week posted an article about the need for accounting and finance practitioners to maintain an optimal combination of professional competencies that integrate technical skills with personal qualities. The full article can be read here: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education/article/2179212/how-technology-reshaping-accounting
The article references Jane Cheng, head of ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Hong Kong, who mentioned how the Chartered Accountants Program in Hong Kong is changing to reflect the developments in technology. Cheng further states the importance and need for accounting professionals to learn and embrace new technologies.
As businesses become more automated, so too must the accounting profession if we are to remain relevant and valuable. The major accounting firms (Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG), are all heavily investing in new technologies, with EY and KPMG both forming alliances with Microsoft in recent years. KPMG has also taken onboard IBM's Watson, however the extent to which this has been used is still unclear.
Whilst all the major firms are developing new technologies, the underlying audit approach has not necessarily changed. Whilst more of a reliance may be placed on specialised IT auditors to help ensure that controls are operating effectively and as designed; financial statement audits do not necessarily consider the risks associated to a business should any intellectual property (IP) be stolen, data leaks occur due to poor IT security, and loss of knowledge due to key staff leaving businesses and taking all the specific IT knowledge.
There is a risk that, whilst professional accounting associations around the world are adapting current training programs and qualifications to meet increased use of technologies; changes in the profession are not happening at the same rate that business are developing or taking up new technologies. There is a need for accountants to be proactive and identify emerging trends to ensure we continuously add value to our organisations and clients.