BY 2030, Asean's GDP is forecast to hit US$10 trillion, representing a five-fold expansion from its 2012 GDP of US$2.2 trillion. With the creation of a single market in the Asean Economic Community (AEC), economic development will be accelerated, bolstering demand for goods and services, including accountancy expertise.
This is expected to transform Asean into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour and freer flow of capital. The AEC areas of cooperation include human resources development and capacity building, as well as recognition of professional qualifications.
Gerard Ee, president of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), believes that the AEC represents an opportunity for accountants and accountancy firms to seek growth opportunities beyond local shores.
"For accountancy firms, it is a good time to expand by joining an accountancy network or partnering local accountancy firms in other markets to leverage each other's expertise and service offerings in delivering greater value to their clients, a significant number of whom are likely to expand their operations regionally," he says.