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Are you a bookkeeper or work in data entry? Your job might be at risk

If you work in admin and data entry, transactions processing or bookkeeping in the accounting industry, your job could be at risk.

IF you work in admin and data entry, transactions processing or bookkeeping in the accounting industry, your job could be at risk.

Technologies like robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics could disrupt your career in future, according to results from a roundtable discussion organised by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore Accountancy Commission in April.

Job functions which are labour intensive and require little exercise of human judgment are at "immediate risk" of displacement due to "technological advancements and global competition", wrote NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay in a blog post on Tuesday, referencing the discussion.

"Global forces will put pressure on companies to transform their business models and processes to stay competitive. Of pressing concern to me is the need to raise the urgency to prepare our workforce for these changes today."

"The clock is ticking on jobs which are vulnerable to disruption," Mr Tay wrote.

At the roundtable discussion on managing disruption in the Singapore accountacy industry - attended by more than 40 chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief human resource officers (CHROs) - around three-quarters of participants agreed that technology will be a key driver of disruption in the industry.

The CFOs and CHROs in attendance underscored a need to train their workers in more 'soft' skills who were in at-risk roles to enhance their communication, analytical, digital and change management skills.

The number of Singaporeans employed as accounting and bookkeeping clerks in Singapore has declined by 4,900 (15 per cent) between 2012 to 2017, Mr Tay wrote, citing statistics from the Ministry of Manpower.

Accounting positions in clan associations, societies and non-profit organisations and human resource functions were some of the positions identified as requiring more training in such skills.

Meanwhile, top jobs cited by NTUC requiring specialised technical skills include business and data analytics, strategic business advisory, business partnering, management accounting and risk management.

There was "an increasing need for accountancy professionals to possess analytical and communication skills and business acumen to provide strategic insights to business", Mr Tay said, who is also the director of NTUC's future jobs, skills and training (FJST) team.

To help employers and workers through digital transformation, NTUC has partnered with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and AI Singapore - a programme under the National Research Foundation - to support capability development of finance and accounting professionals under the ACC(X)ELERATE programme.

Under the programme, ACCA will leverage on AI Singapore's digital expertise to assist small and medium-sized businesses and small and medium-sized professional services firms adopt technology to transform their businesses and take active steps to develop their workforces' skillsets.

"Critically, there is a need to raise workers' awareness of the changes that are coming and the urgent need for them to accept and embrace change," noted Mr Tay.

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